COVID-19 forced many Canberrans to change their perspective and outlook for the future. For Ruby McKay, the pandemic changed her view on when to start a family.
"Having a baby now became more of a realistic option, because who knows when we would be able to do things like travelling overseas," she said.
"When the pandemic happened, the future became less certain, and I think it opened up people's minds, and having a child might have seemed extreme before, but with everything being cancelled, people thought maybe now was the right time to start a family."
The 29-year-old Gungahlin resident's first child, which is due in May, is set to become one of a growing number of children born in the wake of the pandemic as part of a possible post-COVID baby boom.
Some ACT hospitals have reported a spike in the number of babies born since the start of the year, with Canberra baby stores and IVF clinics also registering a significant spike compared to previous years.
While Canberra Hospital and Centenary Hospital have seen a relatively stable number of new births in 2021 so far, Calvary Hospital saw a more than 30 per cent increase in births in February compared to 2017 levels.
Fyshwick-based maternity store Motherly Instincts has seen a large increase of sales in recent months, with the number of purchases doubling during March, normally one of the busiest months for the outlet.
The store's owner Samantha Fooks said there had been a noticeable increase in demand for maternity wear since December.
"It's been a very noticeable trend, there's been a lot of lockdown babies," Ms Fooks said. "There was a running joke during the pandemic that there would be a baby boom."
Fertility specialist Dr Tween Low from Genea Canberra said the number of IVF cycles and appointments had also significantly risen in recent months, with wait lists at her clinic doubling. "We're seeing both first-time parents and parents coming back for baby number two or three in higher numbers," she said.
"The pandemic has made couples consider what's important to them and obviously family has come up as one of the top priorities and concentrating on family creation."