Clark County births continued to climb in 2023

Increase in babies follows overall population growth fueled by Haitian immigration.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Birth rates in Clark County have continued to increase significantly, particularly at Mercy Health – Springfield.

The trend is expected to continue with a population increase driven largely by Haitian immigrants making Springfield their new home and with the Springfield hospital emphasizing women’s healthcare.

From 2020 to 2023, preliminary data showed a more than 6% increase in births in the county. Mercy Health – Springfield saw a large increase, with about 10% in the last 18 months, chief clinical officer Dr. Joe Morman said.

This translates to an increase of about 20% in the past year.

“When this started up (in 2022), we were wondering if it would continue once it hit the first six months, but it’s been very solidly up for the last 18 months,” Morman said. “It’s a definite change that we’ve adjusted to.”

According to data from the Clark County Combined Health District, in 2020 there were 1,495 births. In 2023, 1,591 births were recorded.

Morman said with more Haitian immigrants coming to Springfield and Clark County, about 10% of the births are babies of Haitian descent.

“We’ve definitely had a growth in our population, and that growth in population is adding to our deliveries as well,” Morman said.

This has presented some challenges, including ensuring enough interpreters are available, Morman said. However, he said some of these jobs are being filled in the next few months.

As other hospitals and health systems are decreasing obstetric and women-focused care, more patients are seeking out Mercy Health, which has increased its offerings and plans to continue to emphasize women’s health, Morman said.

The hospital has a midwifery program, partners with Ohio State to bring high-risk pregnancy specialists on site and allows pregnant obstetrics patients coming to the emergency room to bypass the waiting room and be seen at the Family Birthing Center. This year, the hospital will open an Integrated Breast Center at the Springfield Regional Cancer Center, which is intended to support people with breast cancer diagnoses.

Morman said it is “critical” that healthcare workers emphasize the need for prenatal care for their pregnant patients.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, babies whose mothers did not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to be born with a low weight and five times more likely to die than babies whose mothers got prenatal care.

Former Clark County Health Commissioner Charlie Patterson previously said the health department found prenatal care is lacking in the first trimester and sometimes for the entire pregnancy.

Morman said one challenge the hospital has faced in the last few years is a large volume of respiratory patients, and adding increased births has increased the burden it faces, but he emphasized that the hospital is “very up to the challenge.”

“We’ve worked very hard over the last two years to increase our efficiency in getting people in better so that they’re journey to the hospital is a shorter duration to getting better,” Morman said.

Morman emphasized the importance of keeping up-to-date with vaccinations, including in infants and pregnant people.

Clark County births

YearBirth Count
2021 *1,517
2022 *1,554
2023 *1,591

* data is preliminary

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