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Anticipated post-pandemic lockdown baby boom so far has been a baby bust

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 7:14 PM CDT
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(KWTX) - The baby boom that some expected after pandemic lockdowns last spring so far has been a baby bust here and across the country.

Experts say that while many people have been stuck at home during the pandemic, the uncertainly of what was going on outside the home was enough to cause some to put plans to start a family on hold.

The population of newborn Central Texans isn’t growing as much as some thought it would a year after the country shut down to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

At Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center in Waco, the number of babies born so far in 2021 is down 15% from the same time in 2020.

In January, February, and March of 2020, 716 children were born at Baylor Scott & White

During the same three months in 2021, 607 children were born at the hospital.

At Hope Pregnancy Center in Killeen, which offers free and confidential pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, the clinic conducted 1,746 pregnancy tests in 2020 compared to 1,953 in 2019, a 12% decrease.

“There’s a lot of fear surrounding a new pregnancy which is scary as is,” said Heather Ortner, the community engagement director at Hope Pregnancy Center.

“We saw an increase in stressors out in the world affecting potential new parents ... Just uncertainty in job growth and the nature of the pandemic.”

Local health experts believe things are starting to return to normal and pregnancy rates could soon return to normal rates.

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