Nine months after winter storms, some area hospitals expect a spike in births

As the 9-month-anniversary of Snow-pocalypse 2010 approaches, several local couples prepare to start families. Coincidence?
By Stephanie Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 2, 2010

Outside, the white December snow piled higher. Relentlessly higher. Inside a Laurel home, a woman watched "Dexter" reruns while her boyfriend played "Batman: Arkham Asylum." They grew restless. They looked at each other.

And then they -- well, you know.

"Once a day," Gineen Glenn, 27, admitted on a recent Tuesday.

"Twice a day," interjected John Cargo, 28.

No denial from Glenn, who is expecting to give birth to their first child, a boy, in early September. "You lose track of the days," she said, giggling. "It's just dark."

So it was during the historic snowstorms in December and February that folks trapped indoors searched for ways to relieve the boredom. Nearly nine months later, the things some residents did seem to be breeding results.

Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring is boosting its staff to handle the more than 800 mothers-to-be who have registered to deliver there for each of the next three months. That's up to 75 more deliveries per month than in the same period over the past two years, said Ann Burke, the hospital's medical director of obstetrics and gynecology.

"It seems to be that when people stay home, they find ways to entertain themselves," she said.

But Anne Arundel Medical Center, Georgetown University Hospital, Providence Hospital and the D.C. Developing Families Center do not expect a rise in deliveries.

Annamarie DeCarlo, a spokeswoman for Anne Arundel Medical Center, said the tough economy has couples delaying starting families.

So are we about to see a blizzard of snowstorm babies or not?

The notion of a correlation between calamities and increased births dates at least to the New York blackout of 1965. Nine months after residents spent several hours in the dark, the New York Times announced a baby boom in area hospitals.

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