'Fertile area' - Gilbert sees 280 births in May - East Valley Tribune: News

'Fertile area' - Gilbert sees 280 births in May

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Posted: Thursday, June 5, 2008 9:08 pm | Updated: 10:12 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Gilbert's baby boom is exceeding its new hospitals' own expectations - with births reaching record levels sooner than anticipated.

In May, Banner Gateway Medical Center reached a record number of births -280 that month, the most per month since opening in September.

The new record beats the prior highest figure by 31 births. And by the end of the year, the hospital is expecting more than 300 births a month.

"It's just eight short months later, and we're already busting at the seams," said Pam Watts, line coordinator for women and children's services at Banner Gateway. "People are discovering us. And this is a fertile area."

From January through April, the hospital has aided in the birth of 11 sets of twins. The hospital is also seeing an increase in doctors who are coming to their hospital because of patient demand. Four more doctors will come on board in July, bringing the total number of doctors to 18.

Mercy Gilbert Medical Center has also grown dramatically in its first two years, to 3,591 births, including 31 sets of twins, between June 5, 2007, and June 4, 2008. There were 1,468 births, including 10 sets of twins, between June 5, 2006, and June 5, 2007.

Two years ago, Gilbert families had to drive to Mesa or Chandler to have their babies. Today, more than 400 babies are born monthly at Gilbert's two main hospitals - and growing fast each month. The first hospital to open in town, Gilbert Hospital, only services emergency births, though those patients are usually transferred in time.

Both Banner Gateway and Mercy Gilbert provide a variety of services for moms, including tours before birth.

At Banner Gateway, moms are given cookies at 3 p.m. every day in a program called Cookies at Three for Mommies and Me. The hospital also recently began a mother support group on Thursdays where moms can bring their babies.

Banner Gateway CEO Becky Kuhn has said that women's health - from babies to senior issues - will be a priority at the hospital.

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