Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center

The new 947,000-square-foot Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center officially opened Sunday, April 3, 2016, at Fort Hood.

FORT HOOD — The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center is preparing for an increase in births this summer.

Darnall has averaged between 180 to 200 babies per month but officials are expecting those numbers to increase substantially in the coming months.

“The expected number of births for the summer months range from 230 to 280,” said Maj. Anne Daniele, the chief of labor and delivery nurses at Darnall.

Daniele said the numbers change weekly and the number of expected births could fluctuate.

Aside from a higher number of pregnancy due dates, the reason for the increase in births could not be correlated to anything the hospital was following; however, the hospital was prepared.

“We are very well staffed and prepared to handle the increase,” Daniele said.

Daniele said the hospital averages six to eight births a day and anticipates an increase of about two to three births per day during the busiest months this summer.

“There are plenty of rooms,” Daniele said. “We have 12 labor and delivery rooms and a 28-bed, mother-baby unit.”

The Army hospital wasn’t the only Central Texas facility expecting an increase in births. Metroplex Hospital’s births also are slightly up from last year.

“We have averaged a little more than 100 babies per month for 2017,” said Erin Spencer, a public relations specialist at Metroplex.

Spencer said the hospital did not know specifically the number of babies it is expecting during the summer, but the number of births would be higher than last summer.

“We know our numbers are slightly up from last year, and we are expecting to continue that trend,” Spencer said.

Spencer said the increase in births is attributable to an increase in the overall population in the area.

However, Fort Hood’s soldier population has steadily declined in the years following the 2011 Budget and Control Act that forced the Army to cut its forces at Fort Hood from about 49,000 soldiers in 2011 to the Army post’s current soldier population of 35,636.

jdouglas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7553

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