Baby boom at James Paget Hospital in Gorleston

NORFOLK’s hospitals have had a mini baby boom, with the James Paget University Hospital delivering double its usual number of babies on March 31 and April 1.

Staff at the Gorleston hospital delivered 18 babies on March 31 and April 1 –an increase on its normal rate of around four a day.

It was so busy dealing with local mums that it was unable to take extra cases from other hospitals.

Meanwhile, the county’s biggest hospital said it experienced one of its busiest maternity days ever.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital delivered 41 babies in the two days from midnight on March 30 to midnight on April 1.

It would normally only expect to deliver about 16 and staff say it could have been one of their busiest-ever times.

Hospital spokesman Andrew Stronach said levels were now back to normal, but birth rates had been steadily increasing in recent years.

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He said: “In 2003 we delivered 4,855 babies and by 2010 that had risen to 5,794. That’s a rise of nearly 20pc (19.3) over a seven-year period.”

To address the level of demand, the hospital is developing plans for a midwifery-led birthing unit to offer a “home-from-home” birthing service, and which it hopes to open later this year.

The surge in babies being born happened over a two-day period almost two weeks ago, with Norfolk’s hospitals seeing around double the number of expectant mums coming through their doors.