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Hospitals Prepare For Births 9 Months After Gulf War

October 23, 1991

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ It’s been nearly nine months since thousands of troops from Fort Bragg began coming home from Operation Desert Storm, and hospitals are bracing for Operation Baby Boom.

″We’ve got a lot of pregnant women here,″ said Capt. Donna Whitehead, administrator of obstetrics and gynecology at Fort Bragg’s Womack Army Medical Center. ″Our biggest boom is going to start in December and continue through February.″

No one knows exactly how many pregnancies are linked to the return of 30,000 Fort Bragg soldiers between March and May after eight months in the Persian Gulf.

But the trend shows up in paperwork that lets solders’ spouses be treated by civilian doctors when services aren’t available at Womack, said Margaret Tippy, a Womack spokeswoman.

In May, 19 women sought civilian care. In June that number rocketed to 342, compared with 129 women for June 1990, she said.

″Mother Nature took its course once the soldiers returned from the Persian Gulf,″ Mrs. Tippy said.

Womack delivers an average of 180 babies a month and expects that to increase to 220 per month between December and March.

Cape Fear Valley Medical Center surveyed obstetricians in town and is expecting 400 births in January, 50 more than usual, said hospital spokesman Clinton Weaver.

A smaller baby boom occurred after troops returned from the Panama invasion.

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