The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics report the national birthrate is down for a fourth year in a row. There were about 1 percent less births last year than there were in 2010, equaling about 45,793 fewer births in the U.S.
However, North Ottawa Community Hospital is seeing an increased need for services at its Family Birthing Unit, said Dennis Philpott, the unit's director.
So far this year, there have been about 290 babies born at the Grand Haven hospital. If that rate continues, Philpott said they expect to see about 380 births by the end of the year. That would be up from 347 babies last year and 266 babies born there in 2010.
Philpott said they have also noticed an uptick in women coming in for outpatient services, such as thinking they’re in labor or for stress tests. So far, about 540 women have used the unit's services, and Philpott said they expect to see about 700 by the end of the year if it continues at that rate. That would be up from 640 last year and 511 in 2010.
Since the NOCH Family Birthing Unit has become busier, its staff has increased and the area has received a facelift. The changes include updating the color scheme and adding new furniture, Philpott said.
Reminder said having a lot of kids is normal for her family.
“We felt somebody was still missing,” she said.
Reminder said she hopes the national birthrate trend doesn't continue downward.
“I think it might be a sad thing,” she said.
Marcia Knol, an epidemiologist for the Ottawa County Health Department, said she wasn’t sure why the birthrate is declining, but it’s concerning. She said Europe is facing difficulties because they’ve dropped below a "sustainable" birthrate.
Knol said the U.S. birthrate might cause economic problems down the road.
“We need the workers to sustain the tax load,” she explained.