The London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) is experiencing a summer baby boom, causing some delays in the programs and facilities offered.
According to a press release provided by the LHSC, summer is the busiest season for baby births.
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In July 2021, LHSC delivered 561 newborns, the highest monthly total on record at the hospital.
Last year, between July and August, 1,115 babies were born at LHSC.
“July and August tend to be the busiest months to have babies,” said Dr. Tracey Crumley, chair and chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at LHSC. “This time last year was kind of a peak year (and) I don’t know if we’re going to match those numbers.”
Referencing the COVID-19 pandemic, Crumley said that while the LHSC saw an increase in numbers, deliveries did not increase at the start of the pandemic.
“It was actually a year later when people decided they could get on with their lives,” Crumley said. “We also saw a huge influx of people moving into the London area from larger hubs such as the GTA realizing housing was more affordable and they could work remotely from home.”
Now, in June 2022, the LHSC team has delivered two sets of twins and a set of triplets in one day.
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“We just had 25 babies in 24 hours,” Crumley said Tuesday, adding that the number falls within the recent average for daily deliveries, which range from 20 to 25 babies born every day at LHSC.
He added that staff shortages remain a problem for the hospital and all departments.
“It’s quite a challenge for us in terms of not having enough staff to meet the increased demand that we would normally have in the summer,” Crumley said.
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One area affected by the summer baby boom is elective inductions, also known as induced labor, brought on by a health care provider through the use of drugs or physical tactics, such as breaking the amniotic sac of the expectant mother.
“Because of the natural busyness of the season, combined with the lower number of staff we have right now, it’s been very difficult to get those people to start their work process,” Crumley said. “We can’t start something if we don’t have the right staff or space to take care of them.”
According to the LHSC press release, cases will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and categorized based on medical necessity.
“Scheduled inductions may change dates as we navigate an influx of spontaneous births,” Crumley said. “Rest assured that each patient’s case is reviewed individually and prioritized daily based on medical need. For those waiting for a scheduled induction, you will be contacted when it is time to come to the hospital.”
Wait times may also increase in both the LHSC outpatient clinic and the OB triage area.
The hospital is asking expectant parents for “patience and understanding” as they begin to adjust to the busy months ahead.
“We know that welcoming a new baby is a very exciting time, and people can be anxious and excited,” said Amanda Williams, director of the Women’s Care Program at LHSC. “Due to the high volume of patients, as well as some staffing challenges we are experiencing, we ask for your patience as we work to provide high-quality care to all of our patients.”
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