Returning Iraq vets trigger N.C. baby boom

Nov. 16, 2008 at 10:53 AM
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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Nine months after an entire U.S. Army division began returning from Iraq, the "largest-ever military baby shower" was held in North Carolina, observers say.

Nearly 22,000 members of the 82nd Airborne division began coming home from Iraq last October, and by August, the Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., was delivering nearly 300 babies per month, The New York Times reported Sunday.

So many babies are now coming to Fort Bragg that the community turned it into a celebration this weekend as about 1,000 recent mothers and mothers-to-be gathered for what was billed as the largest military shower ever, entitled Boots & Booties, the newspaper said.

The birth surge is being felt all over Fayetteville, the newspaper said, especially in medical practices. At Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, the overflow of military patients sometimes has forced women to labor in the waiting room.

And Dr. David Schutzer, who heads Fayetteville's Highland Ob-Gyn Clinic, told The Times his practice delivered 50 percent more babies than usual in October, most of them military.

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