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August 11, 1966


Possible Link With Blackout Will Not Be Determined for Two More Weeks


Many Parents Join Fertility Experts and Sociologists in Sifting Phenomenon


The increase in births in several leading hospitals continued here yesterday, nine months after the 1965 power blackout, as new fathers and mothers joined sociologists and fertility experts in theorizing on the cause of the phenomenon.

St. Luke's hospital reported three times the average number of births daily for the last seven days. The hospital, which averages five births daily, has had 14 or 15 births daily for the past week.

Mount Sinai Hospital, which had 28 births Monday, had 16 Tuesday, compared with an average of 11, for the largest two-day total in the hospital's history.

Bronx Municipal, which averages seven births daily, had 16 Tuesday. Brookdale averages 10 and had 15, Coney Island averages four and had seven, and French hospital averages three and had five births.

None Below Average

Slightly above average were New York Hospital, Bellevue, Kings County, University, Brooklyn Jewish and Cumberland. Average were St. Vincent's, Jewish Memorial, Interboro, Brooklyn Women's and Harlem hospitals.

None of the hospitals, selected at random, reported a birth rate lower than average.

Some new parents pinpointed the date of conception as the night of the blackout, which began at 5:27 P.M., Nov. 9, and plunged almost the entire city into darkness, along with parts of eight states and one Canadian province. It affected 30 million people.

Several new parents mentioned the theory that natural disasters lead people to turn to each other. Excavations of Pompeii, for example showed couples embracing during the volcanic eruption.

"Everybody needed to be reassured," said a new mother at Brookdale Hospital. "I wouldn't go to bed by myself."

Several hospital administrators noted that July was an unusually light month for births, and suggested that the increase may merely have provided a natural balance.

'A Very Powerful Force'

The absence of diversions was cited by an official of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who observed:

"Sexuality is a very powerful force, and people would normally indulge in sex if the didn't have anything else to do. All the substitutes for sex -- meetings, lectures, card parties, theaters, saloons -- were eliminated that night. What else could they do?

Another theory was offered by a new father who telephoned The Times from his wife's hospital bedside.

"You overlooked something," he said. "New Yorkers are very romantic. It was the candlelight."

Most experts agreed that the effects of the blackout could only be determined after a two-week period.

A total of 274 days have elapsed since Nov. 9. Eastman's Obstetrics, the standard textbook, says that birth occurs 270 days from the last ovulation or 282 days from the last menstrual period. A gradual rise occurs 10 days before and after these intervals, and a plateau is reached for eight days.

© 1966 by The New York Times