SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A funny thing has been happening in the Upper Midwest.

While the national birth rate continues to fall, the region has been going the other direction. That's according to Sanford Health, the South Dakota-based health system that also serves North Dakota and Minnesota.

It's probably too early to call it a baby boom. But In the latest episode of the "The Health Variant" podcast, host and NewsMD Health Correspondent Jeremy Fugleberg talks to Dr. Laurie Landeen of Sanford Health has some ideas about what's going on. And yes, that includes "Fertile Myrtles" (her words).

"The Health Variant" digs into health topics important to the region, such as fitness, COVID-19, cannabis and telehealth, introduces listeners to must-know places and people and offers behind-the-scenes reporting.

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NewsMD is a Forum Communications brand focusing on health and health care reporting, primarily in the Upper Midwest, including coverage of industry news, research, trends, technology, economic and policy issues.

"The Health Variant" is available on major podcast apps, including:

For comments or podcast episode topic suggestions, contact Fugleberg at or on Twitter: @jayfug.