In what may or may not be a side effect of the pandemic, a bumper crop of bouncing babies was expected on Whidbey Island.
There were so many expected births coming up at WhidbeyHealth Family Birthplace that hospital officials announced last month that some expectant mothers would be referred to other hospitals for scheduled births.
Other patients with obstetric and gynecologic care appointments had theirs rescheduled. Four expectant mothers were referred to other hospitals, according to Conor O’Brien, a spokesperson for WhidbeyHealth.
The change went into effect June 16 and hospital officials expected it to last for two weeks, according to the hospital system’s website. It notified affected patients that their appointments were rescheduled, and some expectant parents were sent to nearby hospitals.
Although the evidence of a pandemic-related baby boom is uncertain, WhidbeyHealth has seen a rise in births in recent months. O’Brien said the hospital welcomed 33 babies into the world in May — a 30% increase in births compared to the monthly average.
He explained that the hospital has seen more military families because Naval Air Station Whidbey Island no longer has an active birthing center.
The clinic was still seeing all patients experiencing emergencies or active labor, and provided all lactation services, provider-ordered testing, lab or imaging services. The closure was not expected to impact patients seeing a provider for high-risk prenatal appointments.
This story originally appeared in the South Whidbey Record, a sister publication to The Herald.