Watch above: the baby boom Saskatoon is experiencing is expected to last for another 10 years
SASKATOON – If you’re expecting a baby or know someone who is, you’re not alone. According to experts, Saskatoon’s baby boom continues with predictions it could last another ten years.
Among those having babies is Sarah Cochran, who told Global News she and her husband always wanted a large family and had enough time and energy to fulfill that dream.
“We have four boys and no, we’re not planning on having any more, so we have a seven-year-old, a five-year-old, three-year-old and newborn,” said Cochran.
The fourth and final baby for the couple was born just a little over a month ago, part of a baby boom that has been re-shaping this city for a decade.
In 2003, there were 3,900 babies born in the Saskatoon Health Region including home births, last year more than 5,300. Already in 2014, Saskatoon’s birth rate is ahead of that by six per cent.
“On average, we have 15 births a day but in obstetrics nothing is average and we’ve had just a few weeks back had as many as 30 babies in a 24-hour period,” said Leanne Smith, director of maternal services for the Saskatoon Health Region.
One of the big challenges of the boom, say health officials, is making sure there are enough staff to deliver the babies.
“We have increased our staffing levels in our obstetrical, labour and delivery unit since last year so that’s helped but it’s just really orchestrating all those babies and having the physicians there in time but we always manage to do it and do it safely,” added Smith.
In 2012-13, the province lead the country for the number of babies born along with Alberta.
Birth rates are being driven by population growth not seen in any other major Canadian city in more than 15 years. Newcomers have been arriving at a rate in the province nine times greater than before the boom and robust economy.
“I think it has a lot to do with people feeling really secure in the markets, their jobs are going well, business is booming and they want to have more children,” said Lisa Wass, owner of Birth Rhythms.
“When you’re registering for Pre-K stuff then you really notice the population boom because there’s so many pre-kindergarteners and kindergartners,” said Cochran.
New schools are being built in the region and this year 28 new teaching positions are being filled at public elementary schools to keep up with the boom.
“The conscience parenting movement in Saskatchewan is absolutely beautiful to watch, people coming together, different types of parenting styles, different types of communities are blossoming things that I don’t think we’ve seen for maybe 30 years,” added Wass.
At least until 2024, when estimates show birth rates in the region should start slowing down.