It's a baby boom
MOTHERS like Corin Goodger and Amelia Williams are at the centre of a baby wave currently filling Rockhampton maternity wards to capacity.
And they are not alone.
Rockhampton Hospital is on track to deliver a record 120 babies this month, while the Rockhampton Mater Misericordiae Hospital is also heavily booked for the next few months.
Mrs Goodger gave birth to her second child in two years, Kurtis Maldon, at the Mater on Tuesday joining his big sister Joeli, now 20 months.
In the time between the two births Mrs Goodger noticed the hospital's maternity ward had got a lot busier.
"There is a lot more mothers up here this time,'' she said.
Meanwhile over at Rockhampton Hospital, Ms Williams' baby boy Corbin Dallas was the 91st to be born this month.
Rockhampton Hospital Maternity Nurse Unit Manager Judy Bowler said baby numbers had risen steadily over the past two years.
Between 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 the number of babies born at the unit rose by a whopping 10% to roughly 1100.
By the end of this financial year the maternity unit is on track to deliver 1200.
? Mater Director of nursing Darren Holzberger said the hospital already had nearly 60 expectant mothers booked for April.
He said the increase could be linked to the closing of the Emerald Obstetrics Unit with more mothers coming in from the Central Highlands.
But at Rockhampton Hospital the baby boom comes despite a shortage of midwives which has left the maternity unit struggling to keep up with demand.
Mrs Bowler said many midwives had retired in recent years, leaving the unit with just eight full-time staff.
"Like nursing staff, midwives are an ageing group of clinicians, who are not being replaced at a fast enough rate,'' she said.
She said the high standard of education midwives needed was partly to blame as nurses had to undergo more study and a shortterm income loss.
She said while staff always ensured new mothers were properly cared for, there were concerns about the impact of the shortage.