LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – Pandemic pregnancy booms are bringing silver linings to communities all over the United States as families welcome new life. East Alabama was already experiencing a steady increase of pregnancies and new births as the community grows. Then, the pandemic hit in March, and now, nearly nine months later, the COVID Baby Boom is here.
At 39 weeks Linda Stewart and her husband Cole already have a name picked out for their little girl, slated to be born sometime in December. The Auburn couple who loved to travel found out they were expecting soon after the March Covid lockdown put their travel plans on hold.
“We were grounded after that, which was fine, we found other things to do, and here we are,” shared Stewart.
Linda’s OB, Dr. Kerri Hensarling, says it’s an exciting and busy time to be an OBGYN. Dr. Hensarling says Lee County was already experiencing a baby boom when the pandemic hit, and pregnancies climbed as couples stayed and worked at home.
“There is no surprise we are seeing a fairly significant exponential growth in delivers over the next year when you bring adults into the home, and you are keeping them there. Especially in those first months when folks were asked to stay at home, and employers began allowing their employees to work from home, ” said Dr. Hensarling.
Pregnancy during a pandemic is challenging. Fathers can’t go to every checkup, and family can’t visit the hospital after the birth. Stewart says Dr. Hensarling has been committed to making sure she feels protected and informed during her first pregnancy.
“I am so grateful to her, especially this being our first child. She answers questions I don’t even know I need to be asking. I don’t know what I would do without her,” said Stewart.
There are positives related to being pregnant during a Pandemic. Linda and Cole have enjoyed him not traveling for work and the time they have been able to spend together during the pregnancy and after their baby girl is born.
“He traveled for his work, and he was gone once or twice a week and overnight. So since March, he has been home, and it has been great. So, he will continue to be home after the baby is born. This could not have come at a better time for us,” shared Stewart.
Dr. Hensarling agrees, there have been silver linings as families spend more quality time together.
“I hope people can look back see they had great family time and the opportunity to be home with their families,” said Dr. Hensarling.
Overall pregnant women are handling the virus well. It could be some time before a vaccine is approved for pregnant women. So it’s still essential to mask, social distance and wash your hands. Dr. Hensarling is also reminding families to make sure they get their flu shots.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hensarling says Lee OBGYN and EAMC are preparing for more deliveries with extra staff and rooms. Also, EAMC’s Level 11 Special Care Nursery is a comfort for families whose babies may be pre-term.