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Couples beating credit crunch by starting new baby boom

PUBLISHED: 15:13 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:24 07 September 2010

By Tan Parsons ONE well-documented effect of recessions is that people tend to take their holidays closer to home. And now, according to Camden s maternity wards, it also seems people are making their own entertainment. Nine months after the onset of the

By Tan Parsons

ONE well-documented effect of recessions is that people tend to take their holidays closer to home.

And now, according to Camden's maternity wards, it also seems people are making their own entertainment.

Nine months after the onset of the global recession, a baby boom has arrived at the Royal Free, UCLH, Whittington and St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, and busy midwives have started to put two and two together.

The Royal Free saw a bumper 280 babies born in July and has seen bookings for births in nine months' time soar from an average of 300 a month to nearly 400.

Meanwhile at UCLH, figures for July rose to 453 - up by more than a third compared with this time last year, and the Whittington and St Mary's in Westminster have also reported unusual peaks in June and July.

Dr Joanne Hockey, the Royal Free's clinical director of midwifery, said the hospital has now set up a maternity hotline for expectant mums to contact the department directly and make their first appointment.

She said: "June and July have been real bumper months for births and bookings for our maternity unit. Last year we delivered 3,200 babies - including more than 40 sets of twins - and we are on course for more than 3,500 this year. With all this hot weather who knows what might be happening at the unit in a few months' time."

New mother Tanweena Chowdhury said: "It's wonderful - I'm thrilled. I'm very much in love all over again - very happy. I suppose in the recession people haven't got so much money and as far as entertainment goes, it's free, isn't it? But I think most people have kids because it's the right time for them. For me it seemed like a good time to have children before going back into work."

Another mother, Hannah Chiswick, said: "Recessions and power cuts are times when people make their own entertainment and that's when you get baby booms. This is my second child and I'm very happy. My experience has been great second time around - the staff were very proactive."

UCLH's head of midwifery Debbie Gould said it was quite possible the recession had played a part in the boom. She said: "That's certainly a possibility, although we took on some fabulous new facilities in November last year and I think word is getting around now."

Deputy council leader for Camden, Andrew Marshall, said baby booms should be welcomed and have historically been a good thing for the country.

He said: "Several million people had children between the years of 1939 and 1945. It was a very uncertain time but they went ahead and did it anyway. And it's a very good thing they did.


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