The recession has meant fewer jobs and fewer dollars in the pockets of many Americans, but national experts said it has also meant fewer families are also bringing home babies.
The birthrate in the United States is the lowest it has been since the mid 1980s, according to national figures.
The reason, experts said, is simple. People are more cautious about everything they do during a recession.
"Since the recession began in late 2007, we have seen a gradual drop off and a sustained one in measurements of birth," said Dr. Joe Merola, St. Luke's University Health Network.
Nationally, births are down 12%, Merola said. Statewide, they're down 5% to 6%. In the Lehigh Valley, the drop stands at 2%.
The biggest decline is among the Hispanic and teenage populations, which are down 20%.
Birthrates, Merola said, have historically dipped following the start of a recession and can take a decade afterward to recover, but he said national birthrates among white and non-Hispanic women have grown.
"I definitely wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, so that's definitely tough in this economy," said Jennifer Heindl.
Stay-at-home moms at Cedar Beach in Allentown on Tuesday said the economy has played a major role in their decisions to expand their families.
"We definitely had to cut some corners and sacrifice some things," said Janelle Lewis.
Some of the women said they waited to start families, while others work part-time.
It's a decision national experts said many women and their families must deal with during a recession.
"I have a couple friends that just can't afford it right now because of child care or day care, and they have to work full-time just to make their ends meet, let alone have a baby," said Kelly Campbell.
Merola said one likely reason the Lehigh Valley is more than half the state average is because the Lehigh Valley has grown in the last few decades.