- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Obstetricians and staffers at some hospital delivery rooms nationwide are gearing up for a summer baby boom that many say was sparked by the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"This was kind of a wake-up call for people," says Dr. Paul Kastell, an obstetrician and professor at Long Island College Hospital in New York City. "They saw the towers burning. And when they got home they said, 'You know, it's never going to be the right time. We should start now.'"
New York, which took the biggest hit in the terrorist attacks, is expected to be the boom's epicenter.
Dr. Kastell says that, beginning in mid-June, deliveries in his own Brooklyn practice will increase 20 to 25 percent compared with last summer. Dr. Jacques Moritz at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan anticipates a 15 percent increase. And St. Vincent's Hospital, not far from ground zero, is also preparing for a summer boom, though it hasn't attached a percentage to it.
Elsewhere, some delivery room staffs around the country are also bracing themselves.
That includes Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where summer deliveries will include some of the hospital's own staff. Five nurses in Baylor's labor-and-delivery department are pregnant and due in July and August. Spokeswoman Kathryn Goldstein jokingly suggests the department adopt a new motto: "Don't drink the water."
And at least one celebrity will be among the proud parents. During a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, comedian Chris Rock said September 11 prompted him and his wife to conceive.
Elsewhere, Julia Beck Bromberg, husband, Neil Bromberg, and 3-year-old daughter, Lila, are preparing for an addition to their Bethesda home in July.
"If we had begun to take each other and our child for granted, this ended on that day," says Mrs. Bromberg, who is expecting a son.
She says the attacks hit home largely because her husband, an attorney, works two blocks from the White House. New information suggests that might have been the intended target of the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.
At this point, evidence of an overall jump in post-September 11 pregnancies even for the New York metropolitan area is anecdotal. That's because it takes demographers weeks or even months to collect and tally official birth data.
There are, however, signs that a boom is coming. Historically, New York City hospital's have experienced birth booms nine months after severe snow storms that trapped residents indoors, and in early 1978 a banner month for births was attributed to the July 1977 blackout.
Mrs. Bromberg, who runs a business called Forty Weeks, a wholesaler for products for babies and new mothers, says her company's sales to such retailers as Babiesrus.com are up more than 75 percent.
When asked why they want to have a child in such turbulent times, many new parents cite a need for togetherness, healing and even patriotism.

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