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COVID-19 and its impact on the birth rate

Hands holding one week old baby boy.
Leanne Temme
Getty Images
Hands holding one week old baby boy.

It’s been more than nine months since people started getting vaccinated against COVID, and experts say we may be seeing a lot more traffic in hospital delivery rooms in the months to come.

Looking at birth rates between November of 2020 and the spring of 2021, an academic medical center in Michigan predicted a 10-15% increase this fall, and at Virginia Commonwealth University’s hospital, Dr. Emily Barrows reports a baby boomlet.

“We’ve been having a pretty steady increase over the last two years," Barrows says. "But this month happens to be out newest record with 247 babies born in the month of October.”

That’s a 4% increase from last October and a bump of nearly 15% from September.

Earlier in the pandemic there was a big drop in births – people perhaps feeling less amorous as they contemplated the loss of a job, financial problems, having to help kids with school work and fears about COVID. Now, however, many couples are vaccinated, and Barrows says that will also protect their babies.

“There is increasing evidence that these newborns have antibodies passed to them from their mothers, and then if you’re breastfeeding, your baby is going to get some antibodies from you,” she explains.

And – yes, she says vaccination of pregnant women and new moms is recommended by the CDC.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief