Birth surge in southeast Missouri expected nine months after ice storm

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | 10:26 a.m. CDT; updated 12:26 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 27, 2009

SIKESTON — It's been nine months since ice storms crippled southeast Missouri, leaving many without electricity for days.

But things were apparently still heating up in some homes, as local hospitals are expecting an increase in births over the next few weeks.

"We have definitely noticed that we will have a very busy late October and November," said Leslie Sisk, maternal child nurse manager at Missouri Delta Medical Center. "We do attribute the increase for deliveries during these months to the ice storm, but there is no scientific data to prove this."

The hospital is already eight to 10 births ahead of normal for October, with 40 having occurred as of Thursday. Several inductions were scheduled for last week and Monday, in addition to other patients who may walk in, she said. Normally, there are about 50 babies born there each month.

Sisk said hospital officials noted the increase in late summer, when its obstetrics staff pointed out several patients were scheduled to deliver in late October and early November, exactly nine months after the ice storm struck. They also saw an increase in the number of patients they were seeing every day, Sisk said.

Saint Francis Medical Center's Family BirthPlace in Cape Girardeau hasn't seen a big increase in its births yet, said Emily Sikes, account services coordinator.

Saint Francis had 65 births in September 2008 and 70 births in September of this year, Sikes said. By Oct. 21, 2008, there were 46 births, as compared to 47 in the same time frame this year.

"However, our nurse manager in the Family BirthPlace said they are anticipating a large number of births the last week of October or first week of November," she said.

Sisk said this is the first time she can recall the hospital seeing a spike in its births following a power outage. "But we've never really seen this type of a severe outage before," she said. "However, after really cold winters, we have seen an uptick in births."

At Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau, numbers are on target for the month, said spokesman Mark Bliss. The hospital averages 100 births a month and was at 75 on Thursday.

"We did see a spike the year before, when an ice storm hit us up in our area," Bliss said. "It's all anecdotal and people can assume the numbers are up (because of the ice storm or other outages), but there is no way to definitely say that's the reason."

Nicole Sisk gave birth to her first child, Amiyah Carter, on Thursday. She said she hadn't heard of the "ice storm babies" until in the hospital but said it makes sense.

"You had to find something to do with no power," she said with a laugh.


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Brendan Gibbons October 27, 2009 | 3:27 p.m.

Alright, maybe a bit of a stretch, but I can buy it. Best wishes to this generation of ice storm babies

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