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Summer ‘baby boom’ returns, according to London Health Sciences Centre

On July 4, 2022, the London Health Science Centre (LHSC) reported 25 babies in 24 hours. Matthew Trevithick/AM980

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is experiencing a summer “baby boom,” causing some delays in offered programs and facilities.

According to a media release provided by the LHSC, summer is the busiest season for babies being born.

Read more: Baby boomers now less than 25% of Canada’s population, 2021 census data shows

In July 2021, LHSC delivered 561 newborns, the hospital’s highest monthly total on record.

Last year, between July and August, 1,115 babies were born at LHSC.

“July and August tend to be the busiest months for having babies,” said Dr. Tracey Crumley, chair and chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at LHSC. “This time last year was sort of peak year (and) I don’t know if we’re going to quite match those numbers.”

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Referencing the COVID-19 pandemic, Crumley said that while the LHSC experienced an increase in numbers, deliveries did not rise at the initial onset of the pandemic.

“In fact, it was actually a year later, when people decided that they may as well get on with their lives,” Crumley said. “We also saw quite an influx of people moving into the London area out of larger centres, like the GTA, realizing that housing was more affordable, and they could work remotely from home.”

Now, in June 2022, LHSC’s team saw two pairs of twins and one pair of triplets born in one day.

“We just had 25 babies in 24 hours,” Crumley said on Tuesday, adding that the number falls within the recent average of daily deliveries, ranging from 20 to 25 babies born every day at LHSC.

She added that staffing shortages continue to be a problem for the hospital and all departments.

“It’s quite a challenge for us in terms of just not quite having enough staff to meet the increased demand that we normally would have in the summer,” Crumley said.

Read more: London, Ont. Children’s Hospital reports ‘historic high’ emergency visits in May

One area impacted by the summer “baby boom” is scheduled inductions, otherwise known as induced labour, brought on by a health-care provider through the use of medicine or physical tactics, such as breaking the expectant mother’s amniotic sac.

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“Due to the natural busyness of the season, combined with the lower staff numbers that we have right now, it’s been very challenging to get those people in to start their labour process,” Crumley said. “We can’t start something if we don’t have the proper staffing or space to actually take care of them in.”

According to the LHSC media release, cases will be looked at on an ongoing basis and triaged based on medical needs.

“Scheduled inductions may see their date changed as we navigate an influx of spontaneous births,” Crumley said. “Please be assured that every patient’s case is reviewed individually and prioritized daily based on medical needs. For those waiting on a scheduled induction, you will be contacted when it is time to come to the hospital.”

Wait times might also increase in both the outpatient clinic and the OB triage area of LHSC.

The hospital is asking expectant parents for “patience and understanding” as they begin to adjust for the busy months ahead.

“We know that welcoming a new baby is a very exciting time, and people can be both anxious and excited,” said Amanda Williams, director of the Women’s Care Program at LHSC. “Due to the high volume of patients as well as some staffing challenges we are experiencing, we ask for patience as we work to provide high-quality care to all our patients.”

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