You’ve heard of Super Bowl babies. What about Seattle Snowpocalypse babies?
Urban legend has it that any time there’s a major event (weather-related or otherwise) that keeps people indoors, a spike in pregnancies is the result. The recent Seattle snowstorm, which lasted upwards of two weeks off and on in some areas, seems like the fates aligning for little Junior’s conception.
But is that assumption just a myth or based in fact?
“I don’t know if Seattle has a big enough population to see a statistically significant bump, but any time you’re stuck at home and there’s not much else to do, you’re going to see a little spike in numbers. This was a particularly long storm, so we’ll see,” says Anna Panighetti, M.D., an OB/GYN at Meridian Women’s Health in Ballard who delivers babies at the Childbirth Center at UW Medical Center - Northwest.
And while Seattle’s probably not going to see a baby boom equivalent to the one at that local company that started paying its employees higher wages, it is possible there will be a few “Seattle Snowmageddon” babies come November 2019.
Just because there’s an opportunity for more people to have sex, however, doesn’t necessarily mean more babies will be the outcome. As Panighetti puts it, “the stars and the ovulatory cycles have to align.”
And since Seattle is known for having more dog and cat children than human children, it’s possible that couples who got frisky during the snowstorm decided to say no thanks to starting a new generation.
“One person told me their local grocery store sold out of condoms during Snowpocalypse, so maybe we won’t see the spike in births that we’re expecting,” Panighetti says.
Though hospitals sometimes report anecdotal spikes in births nine months after a storm, there’s not a lot of research to prove it’s a widespread trend. It could depend on the severity of the storm (who would feel relaxed enough to get it on during a major hurricane?).
And, rather than more births coming from people being cooped up together, it could simply be that when there are power outages or flooding or other things that keep people from leaving the home, access to birth control could prove difficult.
So whether you believe that hurricane babies and blizzard babies are real, hype, or are expecting one yourself, Panighetti says she’s ready to help all expecting moms have a healthy pregnancy and prepare for delivery come November — or any other time.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect Northwest Hospital is now UW Medical Center - Northwest, a second campus of the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.