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Baby Boom Or Bust? Pandemic & Economic Struggles Leading To Some Americans Holding Off Family Planning

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – From the start of the pandemic, there were predictions of a baby boom, with many couples stuck at home and little else to do. But as it turns out, in some cases the pandemic and economic struggles have led some Americans to hold off on family planning.

When the pandemic hit, Jen Surma and her husband thought about waiting to expand their family.

"I think it was really just the unknowns of COVID at the time that had us kind of take a pause and think about if this was the right thing to do," Surma said.

But wanting their children to be close in age, they decided to try and got pregnant with baby number two.

"It's been good," Surma, "has slowed life down and made it a little bit more comfortable."

Surma is part of what some hospitals in the U.S. are seeing as a baby boom. Community Hospital North in Indianapolis said deliveries there are up 30% compared to this time last year. They are expected to spike to 70% by March.

Dr. Julia Kearney, an OBGYN, said, "I think on one shift I delivered eight babies in a day, so it was a busy day. But it's kind of great."

Hospitals in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois have also reported more births.

While pockets of the country are seeing many more bumps, analysts predict that nationwide the pandemic is more likely to cause a "baby bust."

In an estimate published by the Brookings Institute, Wellesley College economics professor Phillip Levine predicts the pandemic will result in 300,000 fewer births.

"It's a stressful time that we live in. Stress is not great for thinking like, gee, I'd like to have a baby right now," Levine said. "There's issues with daycare, school closings, relationship formation."

For Surma, a pandemic pregnancy has been anything but ordinary.

She said, "It's kind of hit me more recently that it's just going to be a really interesting story to tell him."  And now that he's arrived, it's one for the history books the growing family won't soon forget.

The birth rate in the U.S. was on the decline before the pandemic, and if the trend continues, some experts worry this could lead to a shrinking workforce and economy.

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