Joy, excitement, fear, and many other emotions are common emotions during the adventure of motherhood, whether you are planning to become pregnant, have already conceived, or are nearing your due date. However, one thing you most likely did not read about in your What to Expect When You’re Expecting book is going through prenatal care and childbirth during a global pandemic. COVID-19 pandemic has likely heightened some fear and anxiety felt during your journey to motherhood, so we want to help you understand how prenatal care and childbirth practices have adapted to this situation.
Here are key things to know for your journey of pregnancy during this pandemic:
Continue with prenatal care and postpartum visits
The overall goal to keep in mind during this time is to keep the health of yourself and your baby a top priority. It is essential to continue with prenatal and postpartum care visits. Despite external factors, a growing baby still requires the same prenatal care and attention both with a pandemic and without. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, when attending prenatal visits, it is crucial that you follow the proper COVID pandemic protocols of your medical facility such as wearing face masks, practicing social distancing of 6 feet, avoiding touching your eyes and mouth, and washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Contact your provider to ask how your visits could change, as some may be less frequent, or scheduled as a phone or video call (known as a teleheath visit).
Have a birthing plan
Discussing a safe birthing plan with your provider is the best way to prepare for situations that may arise during your labor and delivery. Hospitals and clinics are taking multiple measures to protect mothers during their labor and delivery, such as rapid Covid testing for women when they arrive on labor and delivery, masking and ongoing health evaluation for all team members, and decreased length of stay for healthy moms and babies. Reviewing any changes with your health care provider at each visit will help you find a labor and delivery plan that soothes your nerves about pandemic healthcare and childbirth. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists emphasizes that the safest place for childbirth during this pandemic is still in a hospital.
Talk with your healthcare team about the process
Understanding what will happen at the different stages of your pregnancy will help alleviate some of the fear and anxiety you are feeling about prenatal care and childbirth during the COVID-19 pandemic. This conversation should include determining the frequency and location of your prenatal visits (online or in-person), the members of your delivery team, and the COVID pandemic protocols in place during your visits, labor and delivery. The physicians and certified nurse midwives on your delivery team care about the concerns you may be having during your pregnancy. Voice those concerns to your providers and allow them to give you the information that will help you to be educated and prepared. To ensure the safest birthing experience for you and your baby, Southdale ObGyn is taking the following precautions:
- A separate birthplace entrance at the hospital just for moms and families.
- Two-step COVID-19 symptom and temperature screening upon arrival for all patients and visitors.
- Rapid COVID-19 testing for all admitted patients.
- Specialty PPE procedures for all nurses, doctors, and other care providers.
- A separate, dedicated care area for moms diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19.
- Earlier discharge for moms and babies when appropriate.
While pregnancy during COVID is most likely not what you expected on your journey to motherhood, being a mother is all about dealing with the unexpected while still caring for your baby. This global pandemic is an unexpected bump in the road, and we want to help you learn how to navigate it so you can continue being the best and healthiest mother for your baby. By looking for information about how prenatal care and pregnancy have changed due to the COVID pandemic, you are already on the right path. Let us continue to help you navigate this journey together.