Giving Birth During a Pandemic
Bringing new life into the world isn’t easy. Certainly not so when there’s also a pandemic happening. Preparing for labor is already a nerve-wracking activity in the best of times. And now that we find ourselves in the worst of times, it’s natural to feel a little more stressed and apprehensive about the whole ordeal. Despite the relentless coronavirus, the birth of a new child is still a beautiful occasion.
What is giving birth during Covid-19 like?
Owing to the circumstances, hospitals have had to develop new strategies and come up with new protocols to keep the whole family safe during and after labor. Although going to the hospital at a time like this can be anxiety-inducing, experts claim that hospitals are still the safest place to give birth. Hospitals have developed a plan of action for your maximum safety. As such, the likelihood of being infected with Covid-19 in the maternity ward is slim to none1. Here are a few things you can expect when you get to the hospital:
1. You could be asked to wear a mask.
It’s a pretty standard procedure during the pandemic to be asked to have to go into labor wearing a mask. This is to protect yourself and the people around you. This includes the hospital staff who are working tirelessly to make sure that you receive the best quality treatment despite restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Most moms forget they’re wearing a mask once they put it on and labor goes smoothly, just as planned.
2. Nurses and doctors will most likely be wearing protective gear.
Protective gear could be the PPE kit including covers, masks, and gloves. This is a precaution to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as much as possible. All hospital staff are expected to stay masked during postpartum as well. You’ll also notice that all the nurses and doctors entering the room will apply hand sanitizer when they walk, ensuring maximum safety.
3. You could be discharged early.
Postpartum stay is considerably cut short due to the pandemic. Hospitals want moms and babies to stay safe and so try to move healthy families out of the maternity wards as soon as possible. Postpartum rest from the comfort of your home is better than risking your health in a hospital environment during a pandemic situation.
4. Your partner may not be able to leave to get clothes or food.
Hospitals typically only allow a single person to accompany the mother as she goes into labor. And once the partner is in the room, they may not be able to leave so as to restrict possible exposure to the virus. Hospitals usually allow you to order room service. Moreover, the hospital staff are there to help you and will service your every beck and call.
Preparing for labor during Covid-19:
One of the most joy-filled activities before your baby comes is preparing the nursery and stocking up on baby supplies. In the midst of all the external preparations is worry concerning the labor itself. There’s no way around it. So here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your upcoming labor.
Ask questions and ask them all. The more knowledge you acquire, the better prepared you are. Make sure you call your hospital in advance and understand all their policies relating to the labor and postpartum maternity stay. Here are a few questions to keep in mind:
- Could I bring a support person and what protocols do they have to adhere to?
- How will my labor plan differ from that of a pandemic-free time?
- Will my baby be allowed to be in the same room as me?
- What pain management options will be made available to me? Etc.
Connect with other moms-to-be.
Labor preparations can be isolating – especially in a time like this. You can combat this by talking to other moms on the same journey. Get involved with online communities, share your victories and fears, get advice and tips, and seek solidarity. There is strength in numbers. New moms may face certain limitations in their day-to-day postpartum life and this dilemma can be better dealt with when you have a support system dealing with similar problems.
Virtual maternal education is your friend.
Prenatal fitness classes, childbirth classes, and newborn preparedness classes are all plentifully available in the virtual mode. Take advantage of this instead of letting the pandemic dictate your level of preparedness. Education erases fear and trepidation associated with the upcoming birth. Enroll in some useful classes and get to learning.
How does the pandemic affect the new mom’s emotional state?
With anxiety and stress on the rise as a result of the pandemic, labor can be a much more chaotic ordeal in comparison to normal circumstances. New moms are more at risk of postpartum depression and other emotionally driven disorders2. With hormones on high and the stress of the labor itself, it’s good to be cautious of the postpartum fallout. One of the best ways to go about navigating possible emotional distress is having a trustworthy support system in place. Find your support system in your partner, friends, family, or a chosen community of new moms. Don’t let the pandemic take away from the magic and joy of new life.
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Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Sara Gale
Sara loves traveling and exploring new places with her family. She is mom to 2 lovely children and loves bringing them out on adventures.