Practice sees baby boom 9 months after Hurricane Florence

Feet of a newborn baby in the hands of parents. Happy Family oncept. Mum and Dad hug their baby's legs.

Tidelands Health Women’s Center is preparing for a mini baby boom in June – nine months after Hurricane Florence threatened the region.
At the women’s center, with locations in Myrtle Beach and Georgetown, the number of women on track to deliver in June is 52 percent higher than in May, 39 percent higher than in July, 45 percent higher than in August and 23 percent higher than in September, which is usually the peak delivery month of the year. Twice as many babies are expected to be born this June as were born in June 2018.
“I saw it on paper, and the distinction was very obvious,” said Dr. Xaviera Carter, an OB-GYN physician at Tidelands Health Women’s Center. “It may be purely coincidental, but I do think these are Hurricane Florence babies.”

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Hurricane Florence, which was a powerful Category 4 storm churning toward the Carolinas in early September, caused an unprecedented medical evacuation of hospitals along the Grand Strand and prompted many residents to evacuate and others to hunker down in their coastal homes until mid-September. The storm had weakened to a Category 1 by the time it made landfall in North Carolina on Sept. 14, bringing historic flooding to North Carolina and Horry County.
“When you have an anticipated natural disaster or when you have people facing the possibility of getting negatively affected in a major way, it brings people together,” Dr. Carter said. “People just appreciate each other more.
“They understand life is short. It pulls people together and creates community, and as part of that, people like to show their love and affection.”
Whatever the cause of the spike in births, the team at Tidelands Health Women’s Center is ready for June’s “baby boom” at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital and Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital. Team members may be working longer days, but they are prepared.
“Hey, this is what we love to do,” Dr. Carter said.
Baby boom or not, Tidelands Waccamaw and Tidelands Georgetown cater to expectant mothers. Both hospitals have earned the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation, which recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer optimal care for mothers and their babies. The global program is sponsored by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
Tidelands Waccamaw is also a Joint Commission childbirth center of excellence.

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