Our world has never seen a crisis quite on the same scale as this pandemic.
With the number of lives being claimed by COVID still rising globally, only a few months into the disease and several weeks since the world effectively went into lockdown, there has never been a more anxious time to be pregnant or consider pregnancy. And all this during a time when an expecting mother’s brain is naturally influenced by the hormone oxytocin, otherwise endearingly referred to as the love hormone, that acts to reduce stress and fear.
Women’s’ bodies are telling them to relax whereas the entire social situation is screaming the opposite and it all makes for an incredibly confusing and difficult time.
Being an obstetrician and gynaecologist, I recognise that one of the most important things to ensure during any crisis is the ongoing provision of safe maternity services and the safeguarding of women’s’ reproductive rights.
Yet the coronavirus has added an additional burden to this by not only redeploying staff to treat COVID patients but making it necessary to avoid face to face contact wherever possible and reduce the spread of infection to patients, babies and staff.
This has meant that despite labour wards continuing to run, the nature of the service provided has had to change, with patients asked to call in before attending, a reduction in face to face appointments, the need for PPE, a limit on only one birth partner being present during active labour, no visitors on antenatal and postnatal wards and the cancellation of home births in the majority of cases.
Needless to say, this has left many women feeling abandoned, alone, scared and worried about how to deliver a child into the world.
Over 116 million babies are predicted t be born during the ongoing pandemic. And our healthcare services have had to step up to the challenge and ensure that support is available to every new mum, even if the method by which it’s delivered is different.
It’s called for a time of great resourcefulness and alternative thinking, where instead of face to face appointments, virtual consults are replacing the need for women to travel to hospital and risk infection in the waiting room or travelling to the hospital.
Baby showers are being conducted over Zoom and Face Time has become the new way to meet the grandparents and other relatives, who also fall in the vulnerable group that need to remain at home wherever possible.
Read the full article here: Dr Larisa Corda Summer