Birth spike reported nine months after storm

PARKERSBURG – Nine months after a crippling windstorm left thousands without power, local hospitals are encountering a baby boom.

In late June, a derecho swept through the area, leaving thousands without power for several days. Nine months later, Camden Clark Medical Center is seeing an “above normal” rate of births, according to spokesman Tim Brunicardi.

There were 43 births at the hospital last week and 74 deliveries over the last two weeks.

Brunicardi said for the same two-week period in 2011 the hospital delivered 52 babies. They had 61 deliveries in the same span in 2012.

“Traditionally, there are increased births following blizzards, storms, power outages, etc., but there’s no scientific way for us to cite the cause with any certainty,” Brunicardi said.

“The hospital focuses on the birth rather than the conception angle.”

Linda Moncrief, whose granddaughter gave birth to a baby boy last week, said nurses were calling the newborns “derecho babies.”

Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations for Marietta Memorial Health System, said officials there have also seen a rise in births.

About a 25 percent increase, she said.

“Our patients are laughing and joking with the staff calling them storm babies,” Offenberger said.

“We still have a few weeks that would have been impacted by the storm, if that is indeed what is causing the ‘baby boom,'” Brunicardi added.