Samantha DeLoach is 14 weeks pregnant with her first child and just recently had an ultrasound – while her husband sat in the car and waited for her. She is not alone in her experience. Many women have also been told that their husbands can’t accompany them to appointments.
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of the world as we know it. Everyone is social distancing; any non-essential businesses are closed; people are grocery shopping wearing masks and gloves; and doctors’ attention is focused, as it should be, on COVID-19 patients.
But women across the world are experiencing pregnancy in a whole different way. All of the normal milestones of pregnancy – a baby shower, the 20-week anatomy scan, a gender reveal – are completely and utterly changed. Going shopping for baby clothes or stocking up a new nursery is completely on the back burner as women face scary new realities during their pregnancies and beyond.
Husbands Aren’t Allowed To Come to Appointments
Due to concerns about the spread of the virus, doctors are limiting the number of people they’ll allow into their offices. And this includes husbands joining their wives for their ultrasounds. “I am not allowed to bring my husband to my appointments anymore. He drives me to the appointments and waits in the car for moral support,” Samantha said. “During my last appointment I got to listen to my baby’s heartbeat, and it was sad that my husband had to miss that special moment. Luckily my doctor let me record it so he got to watch and listen right after. It will be heartbreaking if he has to miss any ultrasounds, especially the gender reveal ultrasound that we have coming up in about a month from now.”
During my last appointment I got to listen to my baby’s heartbeat, and it was sad that my husband had to miss that special moment.
An Instagram influencer and blogger who uses the name Katies Bliss spoke about her experience on her Instagram stories. “I just finished my monthly baby checkup. All good, great heart beat and all that, but I just found out that when I have the 20-week anatomy scan, Nick won’t be able to come and watch it and, like, be there for my appointment…” She continued, “They said I could Facetime and I could try to take a video but they’re just trying to limit people in the waiting rooms and in the doctor’s office and they’re cutting out all non-urgent appointments.”
Evie writer Molly Farinholt shared that she, too, has been told that her husband can’t join her for her 20-week anatomy scan: “I do have my 20-week anatomy scan coming up and was recently told that my husband will not be able to join me. Ultrasounds are wonderful and exciting, but also can be stressful. It's difficult not having someone there with you. And my husband and I are both bummed that he won't get to see more than a few prints from the ultrasound!”
Of course, we all know that this is being done for the safety of everyone, but it’s still hard to come to terms with. Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it’s also a scary one, and not having your partner there for support can be really difficult to process.
Concerns around Coronavirus and How It Will Affect Pregnancy
Author Alexa Dodd is in her third trimester and could give birth any day now. “It's certainly been a more stressful third trimester than I was anticipating, but I think that's largely due to the general anxiety and uncertainty in the world. Part of the stress comes from just not knowing how serious the virus is for pregnant women and their babies,” she said. “Generally, pregnant women are thought to be higher risk for illnesses just because we have lowered immune systems, but in the research I've done it's unclear if the coronavirus is of particular concern, or if newborns are at risk too. So I've just tried to be extra cautious — like most people we've been self-isolating/social distancing for the past month or so.”
There is a lack of information on how pregnant women and babies can be affected, and the unknown can be terrifying.
Alexa isn’t the only one who has expressed concern for her own health and her newborn’s as COVID-19 spreads. Molly shared her view of things: “Since the early stages of the pandemic, I have been very concerned about the health of myself and my baby (and a lot of my expecting friends/relatives have shared these concerns). There is a lack of information on how pregnant women and babies can be affected, and the unknown can be terrifying. My doctor has been very good about sending out daily updates and tips on how to stay healthy, so I have been focusing on that and not the news. Aside from that, my husband and lots of prayers have helped keep me calm!”
Even as we all are working to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, pregnant women are often considered high-risk. Many groceries have instituted high-risk shopping hours for the elderly, the immune-suppressed, and pregnant women. But according to the Harvard Health Blog, “No evidence shows that being pregnant increases a woman’s risk for getting COVID-19, or her risk of developing severe symptoms if she has the disease.”
You Might Not Have Everyone You Want in the Delivery Room
After two New York hospitals tried to prevent husbands from joining their wives in the delivery room, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order overruling the decision. But a standard rule has now been put into place: only one person can be in the delivery room with the mother, and only one person can visit her — at all.
Pregnant women have had to face their fears and deal with the new restrictions. Alexa was counting on having her doula present with her during her delivery, but since she’s only allowed one person, her doula can no longer be there in person. “The hospital where we plan to deliver is only allowing one support person in the delivery room, and no visitors while we're at the hospital. This has probably been the most frustrating thing for me, because we had planned to have a doula with us in the delivery room,” she said.
The hospital where we plan to deliver is only allowing one support person in the delivery room, and no visitors while we're at the hospital.
“She will be offering support before we go to the hospital and postpartum, but I'm definitely disappointed that she won't be able to help during delivery. I had a doula with my first son, and it relieved a lot of the anxiety of labor to have that extra, knowledgeable support person. So while I'll still technically have her support virtually, I guess you could say I feel less prepared now that she can't be in the room physically.”
Molly expressed her relief that her due date isn’t until August: “Thankfully, my due date is at the end of August, so we're hoping and praying that, by then, things will be somewhat back to normal. My sister-in-law is due earlier this summer and is extremely worried that her husband will not be able to be present during the birth.”
Samantha shared her feelings: “It’s heartbreaking to imagine the hospital not allowing my husband to be in the hospital room for the delivery of our first child if this virus lasts until then.”
What the Future Holds
Of course, the journey doesn’t end with labor and delivery. These mothers are going to be facing a whole different set of circumstances than they had anticipated at the beginning of their pregnancies. “I do regularly worry about what it will be like when the baby is born (he's due April 18, but could come any day now),” Alexa shared. “I'm not sure if we should even allow visitors, so it's scary to think we may not have as much help in the first crazy weeks of having a newborn.”
Because social distancing is still in full force, new mothers are going to have fewer people to help them in an already stressful time. Many women depend on their mothers during the first weeks of having a newborn – but they might not get the help that they need.
I want America to be as prosperous for my child as it has been for me.
Samantha is nervous about the changes she might see in the world itself. “One of the hardest things about being pregnant during the pandemic is the fear of how this might change our country and the world. I waited years to get pregnant because I wanted to be prepared to bring another life in this world, as prepared as I could be,” she explained. “And then a few weeks after I got pregnant, this happened. Now the unemployment rates have skyrocketed to some of the worst they’ve ever been, people are having a hard time feeding their families, businesses are closing, and I’m worried about the depression this virus might lead our country into. I want America to be as prosperous for my child as it has been for me.”
As the world adjusts to the reality of the Coronavirus pandemic, pregnant women everywhere are having to accept their new circumstances. Even though we understand why these precautions have been put in place, they’re still difficult to deal with. But as we keep hopeful for what the future holds, we can support the mothers we know and love and continue to give them help as they need it.
Abby Roth is the creator of Classically Abby, an opera, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. Abby is an opera singer with three degrees in operatic performance from USC and Manhattan School of Music. She has performed all over at companies including Opera Omaha, Opera Maine, and Aspen Music Festival. You can find her website at www.classicallyabby.com and follow her on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest at @ClassicallyAbby.