Lehigh Valley baby boom

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - December 30, 2008 - The 14th baby came courtesy of Registered Nurse Oona Ford, who had twins.

But the final "hospital employee infant" of 2008 was delivered a few days ago.

Registered Nurse Christine Lewbart, and her husband Dr Marc Lewbart welcomed baby Matthew into the world. He now shares the stage with more than a dozen others in this baby boom.

"Every other week someone was saying 'I'm pregnant, I'm due this time," Lewbart said. "In the end we had five babies in the course of November and December alone."

But this local burst in the population is not limited to employees of the hospital.

The Labor and Delivery Department there says 2008 has been a record setter, and the year isn't quite over yet.

For example, in a given September, the hospital usually experiences fewer than 300 deliveries.

This past September, 374 babies were born there.

Hospital officials have their own theories why.

"One of our staffers said, because of the change in economy, people are staying home more and not traveling as much," said Erika Linden, the Director of Labor and Delivery.

And Christine says she won't be surprised is 2009 presents more of the same.

"There are a couple of young nurses who've been married recently, and a couple finishing off their families, so it's been an interesting year for us."

Officials from the hospital say they've talked to people in other hospitals around the country, and they all they're seeing an increase in births as well.

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