Birth rates are rising at UVA Health

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:24 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A University of Virginia study finds families in the Charlottesville-area are having more babies this year than expected. This goes against the national trend where births are decreasing.

“We have seen an impressive and consistent increase in the same interval this year with births between 191-209 between March and June of 2021. So a significant increase during this interval this year,” associate professor at UVA in obstetrics and gynecology Dr. Vanessa Gregg said.

According to Gregg, in May of 2021 there were 199 births at UVA Medical Center. That’s about a 25% increase from last year.

“People are focused on moving forward with their lives and sort of trying to adapt to living in a new normal, and I do think we’re meeting a lot of families who have come to Charlottesville from other places who want to live here because of all the wonderful things that our community has to offer,” Gregg said.

Gregg says the option to work from home may be contributing to this baby boom: “There may be other factors related to the economy, or people sort of settling into their pandemic life and moving forward with these big life decisions,” she said.

Last year, UVA Health saw a huge decline in births according to sociologist, Brad Wilcox’s research.

“When COVID first hit, we saw a lot of people losing their jobs. So a lot of fear and those two factors - fear and job loss - are linked in the data to people having fewer kids,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox believes stimulus payments and the lifted lockdown are giving people the confidence to grow their family’s again.

“We thought this birth decline would extend for maybe a year or two, but what’s striking is how quickly births have come back, including here at UVA and I think it’s an indication people may have more financial confidence from government payments and in a strange way during COVID it brought many of us together,” Wilcox said.

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