Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.50 17 Aug 2020


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The National Maternity Hospital in Dublin is preparing for a 10% rise in new births early next year - one indication of a potential 'COVID baby boom'.

It has long been speculated that the lockdown may have seen an increase in pregnancy rates, and the staff at Holles Street are starting to see indications that may indeed be the case.

There has already been an increase in the number of women contacting them to register pregnancies.

Mary Brosnan, the director of midwifery and nursing at Holles Street, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about what they're expecting early next year.

She said while it's still early, they can already see that bookings for January 2021 - nine months from the beginning of lockdown - are "quite busy".

Holles Street set for busy January as post-lockdown 'baby boom' expected

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She explained: "If you compare last January to 2021 coming... it looks certainly we will be up 10% on that month. But I wouldn't say 10% for the full year.

"I don't know if you can entirely say [it's down to COVID]. It's very much an interesting phenomenon... any time there's any big event, people kind of predict nine months later... and think whether that'll be related.

"But certainly from March and April [this year]... we will be expecting next January and February to be quite busy."

Baby boom

Ms Brosnan said that anecdotally they're hearing that factors such as the lack of community led to some people deciding it could be a good time to have a baby.

She also noted that very few babies and new mothers tested positive for COVID-19 during the months of coronavirus restrictions and lockdown.

She said: "We had nearly 3,000 babies born in the last five months.

"We had about 28 positive cases - not all of them were in hospital as COVID positive, but during the pregnancy they would have experienced COVID at some stage.

"Women were minding themselves very well, reducing their number of close contacts, and some probably cocooning if they had underlying health problems."

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, meanwhile, Professor Luke O'Neill said there's been lots of research in the past about how previous pandemics have impacted birth rates:

Main image: File photo of National Maternity Hospital. Picture by: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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