MOULTRIE — The birth of a child is normally a time of great celebration for family and friends, but 2005 has been a celebration for the hospital as well. The year 2005 saw a record number of babies born at Colquitt Regional Medical Center.

Gary Boley, director of marketing at Colquitt Regional, said a total of 726 babies were birthed at Colquitt Regional in 2005, including three births Friday morning. That number eclipses the old record of 718 from 2004 and is a significant jump from the 596 births at the hospital in 2003.

While the population growth in Moultrie and Colquitt County is a factor in the increase in births, Boley said the staff at Colquitt Regional’s maternity ward believe other factors can be attributed as well. The hospital added the maternity ward extension in 1997, which allows patients to enter at their own wing of the hospital instead of having to go through other parts of the hospital.

Colquitt Regional also has seen several people coming to the maternity ward from areas outside of Colquitt County, Boley said. Mothers-to-be from Cook County and Worth County have come to Colquitt Regional, in addition to many women from inside Colquitt County, to deliver their children.

Boley said the maternity ward staff also believes they have some of the best service for new mothers and babies in the area. Those factors and word being spread by those who have come to Colquitt Regional are attributed to the recent increase in births at the hospital.

The number of births at Colquitt Regional in 2003 was a drop in numbers from previous years, Boley said. The hospital had 649 births in 1999, 689 in 2000, 654 in 2001 and 644 in 2002.

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