'Pandemic baby boom' keeps staff at Sarnia, Ont. hospital busy
Doctors and nurses in the Maternal Infant Child (MIC) Unit at a Sarnia, Ont. hospital have been extra busy these past few months -- and so far in October, there have already been over 90 babies born there.
"We have noticed a huge increase, and we have a fantastic team of obstetricians and midwives, and nurses who have been working hard,” said MIC Interim Manager Melissa Doan.
Bluewater Health is calling it a ‘pandemic baby boom,’ as the numbers have been steadily climbing since April.
"We were about 50 per cent more in the last month or so -- and now we are almost 100 per cent more. So if this is the tip of the iceberg, if we're just starting our real climb, we could have a lot more babies in Sarnia-Lambton,” said the chief of Communications & Public Affairs at Bluewater Health, Julia Oosterman.
As the number of deliveries increases in Sarnia and Lambton County, Oosterman says the community has been very supportive.
“There are little octopuses that are done by a woman in our community named Dianne, and she’s made about 160 of them. These are sweet because the babies actually enjoy wrapping their fingers around their tentacles, just like they would around the umbilical cord in moms tummy,” says Oosterman, as she holds a crochet octopus in hand.
From left, Chief of Communications & Public Affairs at Bluewater Health, Julia Oosterman, Communications Coordinator Birgit Lacey and MIC Interim Manager Melissa Doan in Sarnia, Ont. on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Reta Ismail / CTV News)
Among the babies born in the last 24 hours at the hospital are Colton and Brooks.
"We wanted him -- so regardless of what everybody else is doing and there being a baby boom, we really wanted him,” said second-time mom Natalie Graham, as she held new baby boy Brooks.
First-time mom April Nicholls is enjoying cuddles with her newborn Colton. As she rocks him in her arms, she said, “I hope being a pandemic baby turns out okay.”
"People were obviously busy 40 weeks ago, so it could have been the time of lockdown. It could have been people were working less and sometimes stress can impact fertility and other things like that. We've heard of individuals who had a long journey getting pregnant, and then got pregnant through COVID,”said Oosterman.
Now despite the baby boom in Sarnia-Lambton, Statistics Canada says the number of live births across the country has fallen in the last five years.
The greatest year-over-year decrease was in 2020, when the country saw the lowest number of births in any year since 2006.
Statistics Canada says there are various factors that may have played a role in this decline, including the onset of the pandemic. Social and economic factors such as job losses and financial uncertainty may also have led some families to delay having children.