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Baby boom put pressure on hospitals

PUBLISHED: 06:30 12 April 2011

There has been a baby boom at Norfolk's hospitals.

There has been a baby boom at Norfolk's hospitals.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2006

Norfolk’s hospitals have had a mini baby boom, with the county’s biggest hospital saying it experienced one of its busiest maternity days ever.

The surge in babies being born happened over a two-day period at the end of March and beginning of April, with Norfolk’s hospitals seeing around double the number of expectant mums coming through their doors.

The Norfolk and Norfolk University Hospital delivered 41 babies over a two-day period from midnight on March 30 to midnight on April 1. It would normally only expect to deliver about 16 over an average two-day period and staff suspect it could have been one of their busiest times ever for delivering babies.

Hospital spokesman Andrew Stronach said levels were now back to normal, but birth rates had been steadily increasing in recent years.

He said: “In 2003 we delivered 4,855 babies and by 2010 that had risen to 5,794. That’s a rise of nearly 20pc (19.3) over a seven year period.”

To address the level of demand, the hospital is developing plans for a midwifery-led birthing unit to offer a “home-from-home” birthing service, and which is hopes to open later this year.

He added: “It would involve opening a unit with four ensuite birthing rooms plus a birthing pool room. The birthing unit would be a separate service to the community home birth service and the consultant-led delivery suite service that we already provide.”

The James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston delivered 18 babies on March 31 and April 1 - a large increase from its normal rate of around four a day. It was so busy dealing with its local mums that it was unable to take any extra maternity cases from other hospitals.

At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn there were 20 births over the two days, an increase from the five or six births a day it normally deals with.

It is unclear why the baby boom occurred, although perhaps one tongue-in-cheek explanation is that England’s football team crashed out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, losing 4-1 to Germany on June 27 - almost nine months before the mini boom.

Mr Stronach joked: “We decided that it must have been that England were so disappointing last summer during the World Cup that people decided to do something more productive than watch overpaid footballers underachieving.”

Did you have a baby born in Norfolk on March 31 or April 1 and can you help shed light on why there was a baby boom? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk.

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