Covid Baby Boom or Bust?
During the first few months of COVID-19 folks started to make jokes on social media about a possible upcoming baby boom due to mandatory quarantines nationwide.
Logically it made a bunch of sense that spending more time at home could equal spending more time “getting busy” as is exactly what happened more than 70 years ago when soldiers returned from WWII. So the question is, will a baby boom occur, or not?
Facts that DO NOT support an impending baby boom:
History shows us that high unemployment rates, low wages and a weakened economy usually results in a decrease in the number of babies born due to worries about the financial unknowns.
The digital health clinic Nurx told USA Today that it has had a 50 percent rise in birth control requests and a 40 percent increase in emergency contraception orders. (New demand for digital services during shutdowns could explain that increase.)
The Brookings Institution estimated that the birthrate in the United States would drop by 300,000 to 500,000 over this coming year, based on fertility trends during past recessions and crises. To arrive at that number, the researchers looked at how birth rates were affected after the Great Recession of 2008, which led to a 9% drop in births over the next four years
A survey by the Guttmacher Institute found that:
More than 40 percent of more than 2,000 women surveyed in May of this year reported they were changing their plan for when to have children (or how many to have) because of the pandemic.
34% percent said they wanted to have fewer children and get pregnant later
In the survey, about 44 percent of black women and 48 percent of Hispanic women also reported wanting to delay or limit pregnancies, compared with 28 percent of white women.
Facts that DO support an impending baby boom:
The same study by the Guttmacher Institute also found that:
1/3 of respondents reported delaying a visit to a health-care provider or having trouble accessing contraception. Black and Hispanic women were more likely than white women to report encountering these difficulties, and queer women were more likely to than straight women.
In contrast, 17% of women surveyed reported wanting to have more children, or expand their families sooner.
The study also found that women of color and poorer women in the United States were more likely to have lost jobs and access to health-care services due to COVID-19, increasing their chances of unwanted or risky pregnancies.
What are Nurses Saying?
“Yes. There will be a COVID Baby Boom”
It is just like a winter storm, soldiers that have returned home, 9 months later there is a surge of babies born. It will be seen in small rural hospitals as well as larger metropolitan areas. Luckily it will not hit all at once, since different areas started shutting down at different times. So as a travel nurse you can expect the surge to hit according to when your area began closing shops and jobs, and it is possible to ride to surges in different areas for more than one travel contract.
~Heather Hood, L&D RN
Several of our practices are saying they are seeing a 30% increase for potential Dec/Jan deliveries (currently 500-550 month).
~Linda Schaaf Barfield, L&D RN
We are planning for a surge in our hospital. Typically we have 40-50 deliveries between 2 clinics each month and we are now looking at 60+ deliveries in one clinic alone in December. We will be hopping between clinics while we are short staffed. I foresee mandatory overtime in our future.
~Anonymous L&D RN (Tennessee)
We have been told that our OB’s are swamped for December and going forward… much higher numbers than normal. Including our midwifery practices.
Nicole Beauchene, L&D RN (New Jersey)
I know of 3 people in my department due in Feb/March…and they are “essential” and had to work…and our unit isn’t even that big. Imagine the folks staying at home. And all those “lunch breaks” they’ve had. I’ve seen a LOT of bellies out and about in the community. Who’s gonna care for them if half the floor nurses are patients too.
Archie, L&D RN (South Carolina)
We are anticipating a surge. Especially in our 12 room (8 room overflow) LDRP. We are all expecting to be very busy and overworked.
Summery McDonald, L&D RN (Florida)
I see 2-3 new OB patients a day in my clinic alone. I’m the main prenatal provider (CNM) and the babies are coming…January through likely July will be busy!
Andrea Gekas, CNM (Washington, D.C.)
“No. There will not be a COVID Baby Boom”
I’m a former L&D nurse who switched to an OBGYN office. We assumed our numbers would skyrocket, but they honestly haven’t. I feel our teen pregnancy numbers have increased greatly, but general numbers are not as high as we expected. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I think due to fear of the unknown, a lot of couples have held off on adding to their families.
~ Sarah Beth Hunter-Ross, L&D RN (Missouri)
Our projected numbers for December/Jan (COVID babies) are the same as the previous year. A nice little break from August and September.
~Michelle Johnston, L&D RN (New Hampshire)
I asked a doc from our biggest group of providers if they are seeing an increase. They are seeing steady numbers that are not an increase at all in December, actually a little lower than we have now.
~Amanda Glas Maguire, L&D RN (Illinois)
I personally have a range of births that I consider a normal load and I’m at the high end of that range for the first quarter of 2021 but not over my normal range.
~Laura Lee Rihl Joiner, L&D RN
“There may, or may not be a COVID Boom”
I think a lot varies depending on what part of the country you’re talking about. It’s the whole Simpson Paradox thing. [COVID] hit different parts of the country at different times, during different points on the pandemic response spectrum. Plus, in states with shelter in place orders you’re going to have more baby making going on vs in states that were more status quo.
Carrie Mudge, L&D RN
What do we think?
We are most certainly in unprecedented times and there is no historical data on which to truly and accurately predict whether or not a boom will actually occur. You might think: what happened during the Spanish Flu (known as the 1918 Flu Pandemic) and couldn’t we correlate that data? Well, not exactly. During the Spanish flu, economic activity did not slow down because the U.S. was fighting a war and factories needed to remain open. In addition, birth control did not become legal until 1960, so it’s not a fair correlation.
At the end of the day the best we can do, is draw our own conclusions as to whether or not a baby boom will occur. What we’re hearing from our nurses and hospitals nationwide is that they are preparing for an increase in births and an increased need for L&D nurses. Whether or not that will come to fruition, it is definitely better to prepare for a spike than to be caught empty handed.
At Next Move our L&D nurses typically earn $1,900 and up a week gross for a 13-week contract. Contract extensions are often available, and consecutive contracts at different hospitals are always available. Most of our travel nurses work 4-hours from home, and with block scheduling, spend plenty of time with their friends and families while on contract. If you’re sick of office politics, looking for a change, a chance to earn a higher income – contact us today and let us give you all the fun details.
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