There’s a baby boom happening at Sanford Health hospitals and clinics across the Upper Midwest.
“It’s been busy and we have seen these numbers before, but it has been several years since the numbers have been at this level,” said Jeanne Hassebroek-Johnson, M.D.
“I’m glad to see that our numbers have increased and that people are feeling comfortable with choosing our care and our facility to do that.”
In January through May of 2021, Sanford Health has seen a 6.6% increase in the number of deliveries over the same period in 2020. This includes major medical centers and rural hospitals in all regions Sanford serves.
Peter Klemin, M.D., an OB/GYN in Bismarck, North Dakota, expected the number of births to be higher but he’s pleased with the steady increase.
“With the coronavirus, there were a lot of assumptions as to what might happen and now interesting to see some data,” Dr. Klemin said. “It’ll be interesting to figure out why we’re having such positive results.”
What might contribute to the up or down numbers?
Dr. Hassebroek-Johnson says two factors may affect birth trend: a heightened prioritization of family in times of national stress or challenge and spending more time together at home because of a major weather event — or a pandemic.
‘Baby bust’ everywhere else
A baby boom is not the case everywhere as a large part of the country sees a steady decline in the number of babies born.
In fact, doctors and hospitals from coast-to-coast were prepared for a baby boom but got what’s being called a baby bust, instead.
New data released late May 2021 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics shows fewer births in the United States from late 2019 to 2020. In a more detailed breakdown, the numbers show the sharpest decline in births during the month of December 2020.
- In December 2019, there were 308,802 babies born in the U.S.
- In December 2020, there were 285,138 babies were born in the U.S.
More couples practicing contraception may also be a factor leading to lower numbers of unintended pregnancies nationwide, Dr. Klemin said.
“So, there’s potential that we’re having more success as people are proactive about it,” he said, as some of the goals throughout women’s health and the medical practice nationwide is to increase contraception practices.
The coronavirus has certainly had the biggest impact in numbers either increasing or decreasing.
“If a lot of people have been sick, that will affect their health and they may put pregnancy on hold on purpose or have some adverse health outcome leading to issues where they just can’t be pregnant for awhile,” he added.
Not everyone is having babies
While a lot of people are having babies, not everyone is choosing to.
Many individuals or couples may not be ready to have a baby, they’re struggling to conceive, struggling to carry a pregnancy or they’ve endured health or financial reasons.
“We try to talk to our patients about not just optimizing their health, and the health of their partner too, but we like to look at the bigger picture when it comes to financial and other stressors going on around them,” Dr. Klemin said.
In any case, if couples or individuals are interested in talking through the process, he suggests considering preconception counseling.
“The positive conversation is really what we hope to have with women or couples,” he added. “It’s not as common as it should be to have this counseling, but we certainly encourage it.”
Dr. Hassebroek-Johnson said the most challenging thing she sees are patients waiting to have their children and running up against the declining fertility that occurs with age.
“The conversations that I have a lot more often now than I used to have, is if people are in their 30s and they’re planning to have children, but not in the immediate future, we want to start talking about not delaying that.”
She says for the general population as a whole, starting around age 35, there’s a sharp decline in fertility which can lead to a high-risk pregnancy.
“If it’s a priority for somebody someday, we need to help them remember their window of opportunity doesn’t exist forever.”
Sanford is ready when you are
No matter where you fall on the family planning spectrum, Sanford is ready to provide care before or after you make that decision.
“It’s a very personal decision about whether you’re going to grow your family,” Dr. Hassebroek-Johnson added. “That’s not our decision to make.”
In the meantime, Sanford Women’s has strengthened its team approach to avoid gaps in care.
Even during a pandemic, all Sanford hospitals and clinics are safe and ready for you.
“We’re here for people,” Dr. Klemin said. “We have safety measures in hospitals and clinics. There hasn’t been anything put on hold. A lot of folks have wondered if there’s delays and products that we use. … Thankfully we haven’t been affected by that.”
- Women’s reproductive years may be increasing, new study says
- Sanford Health helps navigate fertility options
- Baby born at Sanford Health with COVID-19 antibodies