As Harvey churns, area birth rates spike
When Gail Saunders looked at Tropical Storm Harvey’s projected path last weekend, she knew her Memorial Hermann Hospital in Katy would be busier than normal.
But instead of preparing for residents injured by winds and flooding, Saunders, the director of Women’s Services at Memorial Hermann Katy, and others prepared for an influx of women arriving to give birth.
At least five of Hermann Memorial’s 11 Houston area hospitals with labor and delivery units reported spikes in the number of children born this week, according to officials.
In some locations — including those in Katy, the Greater Heights and Memorial City — hospital workers reported their number of births doubled this week over normal averages.
Saunders said the correlation between storms and an increase of women going into labor is a wellknown phenomenon to healthcare workers but is scientifically unproven.
“When the storms start brewing and the barometric pressure changes, that’s when the mothers start showing up,” Saunders said.
She said the number of women coming to the Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital began to pick up Tuesday. Normally, she and her staff help with between five and six deliveries a day. This week, they were assisting with between 10 and 12 each day.
The spike was even larger at the Memorial City location, where a hospital reported their number of deliveries nearly tripled this week.
Saunders told expectant mothers to pack a to-go bag ahead of any storms, just in case.
“Always make sure to be prepared,” Saunders said. “Choose a route to get to hospital or a place to get help if you’re unable to get in. Have all your items packed and ready to go, and take extra precautions.”
Hospital officials did not know if any babies were named Harvey after the storm.