When you get pregnant, all you have are questions. When is my due date? How am I going to pay for a crib? When is my next doctor’s visit? Am I going to have to quit my job? What if something goes wrong? You want to get all the information you can get, to make sure that you keep your baby safe, happy, healthy, and loved. Now imagine going through all of this, all of these questions, and fears; while there is a pandemic raging in the world around you.
According to Unicef, approximately 116 million babies will be born during the pandemic. Now, I know, it can be hard to imagine. Having a baby during COVID-19? What are they supposed to do? Wear a mask while in active labor? Well, they can’t exactly postpone it. My sister-in-law is in the back half of her eight month of pregnancy, and her experience, as well as my brother’s, highlights some of the struggles of having a baby in a pandemic.
“I’m still getting the same level of healthcare I would’ve gotten before COVID, it’s just been in a different way than you picture it being.” (Alison Steinheimer, my sister-in-law). During her pregnancy, she has definitely had a different experience than women who were pregnant before COVID. The biggest thing she wished she could change about her experience, was the fact that Chris (my brother, her husband) wasn’t allowed at her appointments. Ali admitted, “The scariest was in the beginning when we had some complications and I was having to go to the ER alone in the middle of the night. When you’re having complications and the doctors are running tests and you’re not sure what’s happening with the pregnancy, it’s hard to be alone.” This is something they agreed on. He also said that he hated that the most, talking about how he wouldn’t have even seen the baby live in a sonogram if they hadn’t gone to a separate store.
On the other hand, some things have not changed, and probably never will. Ali talked about the kindness of others. “I’ve had people put my shopping cart away so I didn’t have to walk the extra distance, lots of people open and hold doors for me, people let me go in front of them in line when checking out, etc.” Chris, on the other hand, (after briefly joking that the fact that she was pregnant wouldn’t have changed), talked about her physical struggle, such as, back pain, shortness of breath, etc. He then affectionately mentioned that he will, “…still make a few special trips for cravings like OJ or hot chocolate.”
The CDC stated, “An MMWR study found that pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.” All that has been confirmed is that pregnant women have more dangerous outcomes when infected with the Coronavirus. There was a period of time when Chris may have been exposed to Covid and that was incredibly dangerous for Ali, and the baby. “…that was honestly a little scary. And it took a full week before we were able to rule ourselves out.”
During delivery, and in the surrounding time, when Ali (and the baby) are actually in the hospital, visitors, besides the partner, are not allowed, so if the family wants to come see the baby, they have to wait until they are actually home. “We’re taking some extra precautions and asking everyone to be careful in the 2 weeks leading up to the due date so that we don’t have to worry about people bringing sickness to us.” In addition to that, they are asking people that want to visit during the baby’s first 2 months to get a TDAP vaccine booster, which helps to prevent whooping cough.
Chris and Ali are expecting their baby (which our whole family has started to refer to as “Baby Stein”) mid December and they could not be happier. Though Covid has taken some things away, there is plenty to still be grateful for. And so, while some things changed and others have not, one thing is for sure; people are still having babies, and not even a pandemic can’t stop that.
Center for Disease Control. 27 Nov. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
27 Nov. 2020.
“Pregnant mothers and babies born during COVID-19 pandemic threatened by
strained health systems and disruptions in services.” UNICEF,