Coronavirus creates anxiety for expecting parents

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 6:32 PM EDT
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The coronavirus pandemic is creating even more anxiety for women who are expecting. Some mothers are now preparing for the possibility of not having a traditional birth in a hospital.

Nearing the end of her pregnancy, Ashley Blossom is having second thoughts about delivering at a hospital because of the coronavirus.

"Seeing how the pandemic has affected the health care system in other countries, especially Italy, we feel that we can no longer remain confident in hospital birth alone," she said.

So Blossom and her husband purchased a medical supply kit online to prepare for a possible home birth.

"We feel, my husband and I, as parents that it is our duty unfortunately to think worst-case scenario," Blossom said.

Trinisha Williams is the director of midwifery at the Brooklyn Birthing Center in New York. She's a certified midwife and says in recent weeks the center has been flooded with calls from expectant moms worried their newborns might be exposed to COVID-19 when they deliver at a hospital.

"We have seen women say they're concerned – whether they were 32 weeks, sometimes even 40 weeks and to be honest, we've even gotten a few phone calls of people in labor in the last few days," Williams said.

Obstetricians are reassuring patients that hospitals have labor and delivery units separate from coronavirus areas. They also advise moms to talk to their doctors before making any changes to their birth plans.

A major New York City hospital system, New York-Presbyterian, has enacted a new policy banning birth partners and support persons from labor and delivery rooms.

It's still unclear how the virus affects moms and their babies, but Williams is urging parents to remain calm.

"You need to trust the process of birth, and that your body will deliver your baby and that your care team that you have chosen should be able to support you," she said.

For now, Blossom and her husband say they're prepping for uncertainty.

"As much anxiety as a home birth would give me, I really have a sense of peace knowing we could do it here," she said.

Blossom and her husband are expecting a baby boy in April.

The cost of a home birth can also be difficult because it may not be covered by insurance.