The global pandemic has made childbirth even more difficult for women as hospitals across the world stop allowing partners during delivery and post-partum.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 31, 2020, and has since been updated.
The global health crisis has brought on a unique problem for pregnant women in New York and many other states. They will no longer have a partner with them while they give birth. Many have argued that back in the day, women did it on their own, but this line of thought does nothing to assure expecting moms, who are anxious to go on this journey on their own.
One expectant New York mom expressed her thoughts on social media and the fear she has in her heart might change how she sees this beautiful time in her life. "This was supposed to be the most exciting time in my life. The third trimester... the last time to do all of those fun date nights before your "freedom" is gone, the time for your baby shower where friends & family can celebrate, the time to prepare everything for the baby," said Jen Santamaria.
The 30-week pregnant woman said that she won't get to have a baby shower, birthing, and CPR classes, or find a pediatrician. She won't even be able to set up the nursery. But, her problems are bigger than that. "Some hospitals aren't allowing birth partners in the hospital. Giving birth without my husband beside me? I can't do this alone. I used to worry about what types of amenities I'd want in the room. Now I just want him there," she said.
6/8 And amongst all of this, I feel guilty and selfish for being down when people are losing loved ones, unable to pay their bills and so much more. I know that I'm so lucky and I don't take that for granted.— Jen Santamaria (@jensantamaria) March 17, 2020
8/8 So, if you're also an expecting parent and freaked out, you're not alone. Hopefully one day we'll be able to tell our kids what it was like to be expecting parents during this pandemic, how strong we were and how much brightness they brought into this world. ♥️— Jen Santamaria (@jensantamaria) March 17, 2020
And she isn't alone. Another woman commented on her post, "I know how you feel. I am scheduled for our c-section next Wednesday. I’m freaking out because I need my husband and his parents for help and support. I also can’t deliver vaginally so delivering at home isn’t an option. We went through IVF for this miracle. The stress is real."
Meanwhile, a support group on Facebook called Pregnant During COVID-19 Pandemic has become a space for solace for many pregnant women who are going to be giving birth in these stressful times.
One woman, Jessica Glasser, wrote, "I’m getting induced tomorrow at a NYC hospital where they banned spouses from being in the delivery room. I’m so scared and need support!" Replying on the post, one supportive woman, said, "Due the 29th at good Sam and no support person allowed. This is my 2nd so I, personally am not as upset as my husband is. I feel so horribly for the first time moms and think this is complete bullshit honestly."
The fear that women in New York, which is one of the worst-hit due to the pandemic, are facing is because the New York-Presbyterian hospital system has stopped allowing visitors. They have taken some stringent measures and said on their website, "We understand that this will be difficult for our patients and their loved ones, but we believe that this is a necessary step to promote the safety of our new mothers and children."
Glaser continued later, saying, "...The drop off was the worst part but my husband and I are FaceTiming and the nurses are such an amazing support, I’ll update later but not as bad as I imagined. Women are so strong and we got this!"
Some women are also facing the possibility of being asked to go back home in less than 48 hours after childbirth. "I’m due April 26th with my second. My step-mother is convinced that L&D wards will soon no longer let mothers stay in the hospital for the regular 2 or 3 nights, she says they will make new Mom’s go home after a night and to be prepared for this," said one woman.
While another shared that this measure was being taken for the safety of the mother and children. "I asked about NICU (both of my other children were nicu babies) they said that they are trying to speed infants through the nicu as quickly as possible to reduce risk. They also told me that I am not allowed to have visitors during birth and whomever brings me in for my c-section will have to stay in the hospital the entire time I am admitted, otherwise they won't let them back in," said Katie Sue, who will be delivering in Seattle, another area with a high number of COVID-19 infected patients. "They also said NICU visitations keep changing but if the pandemic gets worse then they will only allow 1 adult/parent at the bedside per day to limit the risk of contracting covid-19," she concluded.
At a time when women, especially those giving birth for the first time need more support, they are facing a potentially risk-prone time alone. However, thanks to technology they are able to at least stay in touch with their loved ones from inside the hospitals.