Grand Strand birth rates spike 20%, pandemic lockdown reveals baby boom

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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. — A baby boom appears to be one positive outcome of pandemic lockdowns. Birthrates across the Grand Strand are continuously trending up.

Over the past four months, Carolina OB/GYN reports birth rates are up 20-percent more than in previous years.

After nearly a year of people spending more time at home, working from home, and in a way, being forced to spend more time with their partners, doctors say birth rates are spiking.

Data beginning in December began reflecting the Grand Strand may not be experiencing the same pandemic birthrate decline as many other parts of the country.

Carolina OB/GYN worked to keep up with demand during the pandemic by adding extra physicians and expanding hours to have fewer patients in the waiting room at one time.

In December 2020, their practice saw 66 babies born, the first sign of birth rates trending up. During 2021’s first quarter, birth rates are significantly higher than the months prior.

“We started seeing an increase in patients seeking obstetrical care over the summer, and it’s continued. We were up 20% over our usual, and the birth rate is up 20%. That started in December, which makes sense if you have a quarantine period that starts in March,” Carolina OB/GYN, Dr. Gayle Richmond, said.

Doctors say the U.S. birth rate could be making a comeback after recently reaching the lowest it’s been in three decades.

According to the CDC, the U.S. birth rate reached the lowest it’s been in over three decades in 2018. Now, OB/GYN’s are predicting a comeback after seeing birth rates spike following a year of lockdowns.

“I would say when I first started practicing 33 years ago, the birthrate was higher, and I think that has been nationwide. It’s started to dip over the years, but now it’s coming back up,” Dr. Richmond said.

During the pandemic, it wasn’t the same inside Carolina OB/GYN. Pregnancy groups went from in-person to virtual, elective surgeries were paused, and moms-to-be were taught how to perform their own home assessments.

But to some surprise, OB/GYN’s started reporting a consistent increase in the number of babies born each month.

Medical experts from The American College of OB/GYN and Carolina OB/GYN recommend pregnant women get vaccinated to increase protection for moms and newborns.

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