Post-Hurricane Sandy Effects Showing Up Nine Months Later, in Small Packages?

newborn baby feetIs there a post-Hurricane Sandy baby boom in the metropolitan area? Some, especially in South Jersey say absolutely yes.

Other experts dispute not only a post-Sandy boom, but the very idea of any baby boom following a natural disaster, noting that contemporary couples stick to carefully laid-out plans to have children or not, despite outside factors.

Locally, St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston expects to see an additional 100 births in the period from late July to late August, and the spike has already begun, according to hospital spokesperson Sally Malech.

Richard Miller MD, Chairman of OB/GYN department at St. Barnabas, and an partner in New Jersey Perinatal Associates, which delivers babies at St. Barnabas and Clara Maas, concurs. “We are seeing a mini boom. We’re up a modest amount, about 10 percent, although July and August we tend to see a bump in delivery numbers anyway. Births are always seasonal, probably because winter months are colder here, something that likely goes back to cave man days.”

Michelle Aristizabal MD, an OB/GYN with a practice in Montclair, says, “I definitely have seen it; we’ve been crazy. Normally we deliver between 12 and 15 babies a month, but it’s been over 20 the last four weeks, and the hospital atmosphere has been insane, having to double up rooms. It’s true that July and August are higher delivery months, but not this crazy. Yes, it could be a coincidence, but a number of people have told me that their babies resulted from Sandy!”

At Mountainside Hospital in Montclair-Glen Ridge, PR Director Natalie Thigpen says, “I have heard that, but it’s not anything we have data on yet. We’ve had a slight uptick in births but it tends to be cyclical this time of year anyway.”

As for me, I’m the mother of a 19-year-old son born in late December 1993, precisely nine months after a major blizzard hit northern New Jersey. Planned? Yup, we’d been trying for 3-plus years. But who knows, maybe we just hadn’t been trying enough until there was a certain different kind of shall we say, energy, in the house.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

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