Summer of gloom delivers an April baby boom
A MINI baby boom is happening at hospitals across the country and bemused staff are blaming last year's cold summer for the sudden rise in births.
A record 52 babies were born in one hospital over a six-day period last week -- that's more than eight every day.
And during one frantic 24-hour period, medical staff at Wexford General Hospital delivered 20 babies.
Meanwhile, the maternity unit of a Co Donegal hospital is also experiencing a surge in births this month.
The birth rate at Letterkenny General hospital is up an estimated 50pc, leaving nurses wondering what was happening last July.
On average, there are about 165 births per month at the hospital. However, bookings for April are reflecting the increasing birth rate in Letterkeny and there are currently an estimated 240 women due this month.
"There's a baby boom sweeping through the place. We're beginning to ask 'What happened at the end of July? Was it a cold July?'" one nurse joked.
A new maternity suite, comprising of four delivery rooms and a dedicated maternity theatre, recently opened at the Letterkenny hospital.
Visitors to Wexford General Hospital witnessed nurses trying to cope with an unexpected extra workload last week.
The hospital was still able to cope, with all of the babies delivered safely to the delight of their proud parents. But it did emerge that the nurses, many of whom had time off cancelled, had to work longer hours in an effort to cope with the over-crowded maternity wards.
A spokesperson for the hospital said yesterday: "We delivered 52 babies from last Monday up until today. This is a record number of deliveries for the hospital in any given week."
She added: "Over the 24 hours between April 10-11, 20 babies were delivered, which is a further record number of deliveries for the hospital over that given period.
"The nurses were forced to work overtime, by having their time off cancelled."
"We did have to move some mothers and babies, owing to lack of beds in the maternity wing. Nurses and midwives were stretches coping with the extra wards, but all coped well."