In what may or may not be a side effect of the pandemic, a bumper crop of bouncing babies are expected on Whidbey Island.
There are so many expected births coming up at WhidbeyHealth Family Birthplace that hospital officials announced last week that some expectant mothers will be referred to other hospitals for scheduled births.
Other patients with obstetrics and gynecologic care appointments have had theirs rescheduled. Four expectant mothers have been referred to other hospitals, according to Conor O’Brien, a spokesperson for WhidbeyHealth.
The change went into effect on June 16 and hospital officials expect it to last for two weeks, according to an update on the hospital system’s website. It has notified affected patients that their appointments have been rescheduled or has sent expecting parents to nearby hospitals.
Although the evidence of a pandemic-related baby boom is uncertain, WhidbeyHealth has seen a rise in births in recent months. O’Brien said the hospital welcomed 33 babies into the world in May — a 30 percent increase in births compared to its monthly average.
He explained that the hospital has seen more military families because Naval Air Station Whidbey Island no longer has an active birthing center.
The clinic will still see all patients experiencing emergencies or active labor, and provide all lactation services, provider-ordered testing, lab or imaging services. The closure will not impact patients seeing their provider for high-risk prenatal appointments.