Baby boom expected after lockdown

A generation of lockdown children will be born this year after one state’s 2020 restrictions led to a baby boom.

Australian health officials expect a baby boom in Victoria as a result of the state’s second-wave lockdown.

Despite the social distancing requirements of the coronavirus age, Victorians clearly got intimate during the 16-week lockdown last year.

“I only know the statistics from Victoria, but I know there is a baby boom coming,” federal chief nursing and midwifery officer Alison McMillan told NCA NewsWire.

“There‘s going to be a big boom in babies, particularly from the second-wave lockdown in Victoria.

“The maternity wards are already (bracing for it),” she continued.

People who got pregnant during Victoria’s July to October lockdown will have their babies between April and July this year.

A person who works at Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services said there was anecdotal evidence that maternity ward bookings corresponding with that time frame had increased at public hospitals.

But the state’s largest private hospital group, Epworth HealthCare, said the only baby boom they’re seeing is going on right now, with more maternity ward bookings than usual in February and March.

Epworth Freemasons had 275 maternity bookings for February, 20 per cent more than the same month last year.

The same hospital has 300 bookings for March, 26 per cent more than last year.

Bookings for the April-July period were only slightly up, a spokesman said.

“Normally, we see an increase in birth numbers in September and October. The booking numbers show there is definitely a post lockdown baby boom happening at Epworth in 2021 and we can’t wait,” Papa Xuereb, nurse unit manager of the post-natal ward at Victoria’s Epworth Freemasons said, referring to the February-March increase.

Asked if she thought the baby boom was a result of lockdown love between roommates, or couples who figured it was a good time to have a baby, Ms McMillan laughed and said: “We’ll leave that to somebody else (to answer).”

Ms McMillan was among the first Australians to receive a dose of coronavirus vaccine over the weekend.

She rolled up her sleeve during a visit to Sydney’s Castle Hill Medical Centre on Sunday alongside the Prime Minister, the federal chief medical officer and a handful of aged care residents and emergency workers.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, who was also at the clinic, said earlier on Sunday that while the coronavirus vaccines that were going to be available to Australians were considered safe, people who were pregnant should contact their doctor beforehand.

“Breastfeeding mums, they should feel free to take the vaccines, women who are considering being pregnant, they should feel free to take the vaccine,” Mr Hunt told ABC’s Insiders program.

“And for those women who are pregnant, that’s the appropriate time to consult your doctor, which is generally the case with most vaccines.

“But at any time, anybody should feel free to speak with their doctor, speak with their health professionals or go to one of the government websites.

“They are the best place to get your information, but nothing beats – if you do have any questions – talking with your GP.

“Our GPs are the cornerstone of the national vaccine rollout, but they’re also our trusted source of high-quality information.”


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