SIOUX FALLS, SD -
The South Dakota Health Department believes the economy is to blame for fewer births in the state.
Statistics show 400 fewer births in South Dakota so far this year compared to the five year average.
The Struckmans are getting everything ready for their baby boy, who's due January 25th.
"Now it's starting to hit me, like I have a month left," Lisa Struckman said.
The Struckmans are excited to say the least, but know a tiny baby can equal a big expense.
"As soon as we found out, we started putting away money and trying to figure out the budget and how much it would cost to have a kid and the diapers and the food and all that excess," Lonnie Struckman said.
The Struckmans say they felt financially prepared for a baby despite the struggling economy. Still, the recession is preventing some South Dakotans from having children. Since 2007, the number of births has declined in the state.
"Obviously the economy took a downturn. In 2009 we saw significant changes there, and there's no doubt that that does reflect in all aspects of our life, including the decision whether to expand or start a family," Sanford Dr. Laurie Landeen said.
While fewer South Dakotans are choosing to have babies statewide, Sanford Health is seeing an increase this year from last year.
"In 2007 we had our highest birth rate ever, and then it was a little bit less in 2008, and then we really saw a little more of a decrease in 2009 and 2010, but as far as this year in 2011, we actually are seeing the numbers coming back," Landeen said.
Even though fewer women are sporting the baby bump overall in KELOLAND, Landeen says some of it is left to chance, rather than the economy.
"The reality is that 50 percent of pregnancies are not planned, so in the birthing industry so to speak we probably don't get hit as hard because a lot of people are not planning their pregnancies. It's just happening, and they're saying, 'Okay, it was meant to be,'" Landeen said.
Struckman's pregnancy was planned. While they know an added member in the family is an added expense.
"I can see why people think twice before having it with the cost of daycare and everything going up," Lonnie said.
They say their little boy will be worth it.
"They're the greatest thing in the world. I can't wait to have a baby boy and have my daughter, and I'm just as excited as ever to have a kid," Lonnie Struckman said.
Landeen says she expects an increase soon in the number of babies born because baby boomer's children will start having kids.
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