Do Major Storms Really Cause a Baby Boom?

It depends on who you ask, but some doctors insist that major storms, such as Juno, the blizzard that hit the East Coast on January 26, do cause a baby boom, according to an ABC News report. Laura Corio, MD, an OB/GYN at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, told ABC News that nine months after both Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy swept through the area she was “so busy.”

In fact, some hospitals in the New York City area saw a 10 to 20 percent increase in the number of births following Hurricane Sandy, according to the report. Other hospitals have reported no noticeable increase in activity in their maternity wards, and laugh off the suggestion of a storm baby boom.

Doctors are often on opposite sides of this fact or fiction speculation. Researchers who see a spike in birth rates often go back nine months to try and determine a cause. And while there’s no true medical basis for the blizzard baby phenomenon, there are weather events that are followed by a surge of births nine months later…and equally impressive storms that have no effect on birth spikes. Birth rates tend to vary naturally.

As for how weather can affect fertility, researchers at the University of Texas/Austin and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have studies on birth rates following hurricane season in 2007. Both teams concluded that low severity storm warnings had a “positive and significant” effect on fertility, while high severity storm warnings had a negative effect.

Photo: Getty