Pandemic may have contributed to local baby boom, experts say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The pandemic may have contributed to a local surge in babies, Novant Health Presbyterian doctors said. Novant is reporting somewhat of a baby boom this year.

Channel 9 reporter Tina Terry spoke to two Charlotte families about their thoughts on having a baby during a pandemic.

“We can’t wait to tell him ‘you were born during a pandemic but we kept you as safe as possible and as healthy as possible,’” mom Alex Szymanski said.

At just 14 weeks old, her baby boy Anthony Szymanski is all smiles, unaware of COVID-19, and the challenges his family faced to bring him into the world.

Alex and Eddie Szymanski learned they were pregnant just before the shut-down, as the world launched its fight against an unknown virus.

“It definitely was a nerve racking thing,” Alex said. “We’re pregnant. What are things going to look like at the end of September when he is born? Is things gonna be better is things gonna be worse?”

Despite the uncertainty of 2020, Novant Health in Charlotte saw 608 more births in 2020 when compared to 2019. That number is a 5.5% spike in births. 

Novant Health’s Dr. Jessica Deane-Wyman said the hospital expects a 7.5% increase in births this January and a near 10% spike in June of next year.

“I think these numbers are a little bit higher than the increases we’ve seen the last few years,” Dr. Deane-Wyman said. “So I think part of that is just the growth and part of it is contributable to the pandemic as well.”

Lauren Rubio and Justin Yon learned about their baby in June.

“It was just a blessing,” Yon said. 

“Yeah we were excited,” Rubio said.

COVID-19 restrictions have forced many expectant moms like Rubio to go to some prenatal appointments alone. Despite the challenges, she said she’s full of hope.

“In times like this when life is so hard and there’s so much pain and suffering and hurt a baby brings such hope and such light to people,” Rubio said.

She said her baby came at just the right time.

“I think I would tell our child, he or she is a warrior,” Rubio said. “He came into the world in such a hard time.”

The Szymanskis say they’ve learned there’s nothing they can’t walk through together.

“It just taught us to be a lot stronger and it’s okay to face your fears,” Alex said.