A mini baby boom could be happening on Vancouver Island, at least according to one expert.
Elisabeth Gugl, an associate professor in economics at the University of Victoria, says the Island is seeing an increase in births this year compared to last — and that might have to do with the unpredictability of the pandemic.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, there was both uncertainty about what kind of health care people would have during pregnancy if they were to get pregnant, and how safe it was to have a baby during a pandemic,” she said.
“In addition to that, there was lots of economic uncertainty in terms of what this would mean for families’ incomes,” she added.
For Stephanie Baird, the owner of a baby clothing called Abby Sprouts, the spike in newborns this year on the Island is welcome news.
“It was really busy. So, we were sort of just like, ‘hey great, but when’s the end of all these babies?'” She said with a laugh.
“There’s lots of moms, grandmas and new babies in. And lots of people expecting babies,” she said.
And the numbers show — people have been busy over the last several months before the pandemic.
According to Island Health, there were 5,384 babies born in 2020, which is lower than the 5,669 babies born in 2019.
However, between January and March of this year, there were 1,423 babies born on the Island, compared to 1,338 babies born during the same period last year, indicating a small baby boom.
For some, including new mom, Danielle Turner, the timing of the pandemic proved to be perfect.
She gave birth to her baby in January, recalling how crowded the hospital was at the time.
“Everyone kept saying, all the nurses kept saying, ‘oh we’re so busy. There’s lots of people here today. Lots of new babies coming,” she said.
While numbers are trending upwards so far this year, the pandemic plays a major role and Gugl said things could change if the region hits another COVID wave.