Pandemic Baby Boom & Bust

CBS4's Naomi Ruchim shares the details behind a couple's ideas on having babies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Video Transcript

- Now at 5:30, a pandemic baby boom and bust. From the start, there were predictions more couples would have children because they were stuck at home with little else to do. But in some cases, the pandemic and economic struggles have caused the opposite. CBS 4's Naomi Ruchim explains America's baby boom and bust.

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

JEN SURMA: I think it was just really 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.

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

JEN SURMA: It's been good from a-- kind of has slowed life down and made it a little bit more comfortable.

NAOMI RUCHIM: Jen is part of what some hospitals in the US are seeing as a baby boom, including Community Hospital North in Indianapolis, where deliveries are up 30% compared to this time last year, and are expected to spike to 70% by March.

JULIA KEARNEY: I think on one shift, I delivered eight babies in a day. So it was a busy day. But it's kind of great.

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

And while pockets of the country are seeing many more bumps like mine, analysts predict nationwide, the pandemic is more likely to cause a baby bust.

PHILLIP LEVINE: 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.

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

PHILLIP LEVINE: There is issues with daycare, school closings, relationship formation.

NAOMI RUCHIM: For Jen, a pandemic pregnancy has been anything but ordinary.

JEN SURMA: It's kind of hit me more recently that it's just going to be a really interesting story to tell him.

NAOMI RUCHIM: And now that he's arrived, it's one for the history books this growing family won't soon forget. Naomi Ruchim, CBS News.