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Wednesday, April 21, 1999 Published at 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK


Millennium night love-in causes concern

Midwives are concerned about baby booms

Some people might opt to spend millennium night in the labour ward, but midwives are also concerned about those who decide a night in the bedroom is a better bet.

There has been much publicity about the possibility of a surge in births around 1 January 2000 as the rush starts to give birth to the first child of the new millennium.

But delegates at the Royal College of Midwives annual conference in Glasgow voiced concern that maternity services are likely to be put under great strain nine months after the big night.

The midwives adopted a resolution condemning campaigns to encourage couples to conceive a "millennium baby".

They are concerned that the service will not be able to cope with the expected 20% increase in new year births.

Delegates at the conference were told that all 35,000 midwives would have to be available for the five-week period around the new year to cope with demand.

But RCW council member Maggie Elliott, Head of Midwifery at Southampton University's Hospital Trust said: "We are concerned that there could be a second baby boom nine months after New Year's Eve.

"September is traditionally always our busiest time because people do tend to get a bit carried away with celebrating.

"We can see that people might think it is fun to conceive a baby on the millennium and we will have to start preparing for that."

Extra pay

Midwives are already negotiating over pay and shifts for the millennium night and have called on the Government to make sure adequate resources are in place.

Mrs Elliott said: "We don't want to scare women who are getting pregnant now because we will make sure there is adequate cover and resources.

"But we are having to negotiate on pay at a local level and that means some areas may get a good deal and others a very poor deal.

"Part of the problem is that we won't really know how many babies are due over the new year period for another three months.

"That is quite a short time before the Millennium for midwives with families and children to plan holidays if they do not have to work and organise their lives if they have to go into work."

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