Pregnant mothers cautious but lonely during COVID-19

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BYU senior Hannah Francis has spent the last few months of her pregnancy in quarantine.

“I’m about to go through a huge life change and I didn’t realize that I would be doing it while isolated,” she said.

Francis is one of many women who are going through their pregnancies during COVID-19. The regulations and restrictions have proven to have both positives and negatives for many.

When BYU canceled classes, moving all courses online, Francis was seven months pregnant.

“It was a blessing to be able to be at home while completing my classes and working remotely during the more tiring months of my pregnancy,” Francis said.

She was able to get more rest than she originally expected since her schedule became more flexible with online school.

Though Francis said she was glad she was able to rest more, she has felt extremely lonely. She thought she would be able to go into work, get together with friends and attend her husband’s intramural games leading up to the birth of her daughter.

“When everything shut down, I realized I would not get my last few months of normalcy before becoming a mom,” she said.

The CDC says on its website that there is no data showing that pregnant women are affected differently by COVID-19 than others, though it says that pregnant women are at greater risk of getting sick from other respiratory viruses than those who are not pregnant.

Francis said she was told if she developed COVID-19 at 34 weeks along, she would have an emergency c-section and her baby wouldn’t be able to see her baby for a minimum of two weeks.

Because of this, Francis has been careful about social distancing and following state and local health guidelines.

BYU law student Eliza Crespo said she has been more worried during her pregnancy because of COVID-19, especially as she nears her June 9 due date.

BYU law student Eliza Crespo shows her baby bump. Crespo, who is due June 9, has tried to be extra cautious and careful as she’s navigated pregnancy during COVID-19. (Eliza Crespo)

“I have a lot of fear about exposing myself to the virus and then testing positive as I go into the hospital to have my baby,” she said.

She’s been extra cautious, something that has made her feel both “crazy and rude.” Crespo said she even asked her mother to un-invite Crespo’s grandparents from visiting the week before the baby is born to avoid extra contact and potential exposure.

“I just hope it’s all worth it and everything goes smoothly and I get to hold my baby as soon as she’s born,” Crespo said.

Crespo has heard rumors that hospitals are requiring women to go through labor with a mask on and often they are not able to see their baby for up to several weeks afterward, something she said sounds like a nightmare.

Utah Valley Hospital requires masks for health care providers, support persons and the expectant mother during the entire labor and delivery process, according to a hospital worker.

Women who have tested positive for COVID-19 will have their baby removed from them for the baby’s safety after birth. Women going through labor are also only allowed one support person who remains the same during the entire labor and delivery and after the birth.

Doctor visits for Crespo have not been hard to set up and attend. Both she and the doctor wear a mask the entire visit and her temperature is taken when she arrives.

Crespo is required to attend her doctor visits alone, something she said is hard since she wanted her husband to attend these visits with her.

Rachel and Kevin Getz hold up their sonogram as they take graduation photos. Rachel and Kevin moved to Oregon after graduating from BYU and Rachel said she’s found it difficult to find doctors and set up appointments in preparation for her August due date. (Rachel Getz)

Some women are finding visiting their doctors to be more difficult since COVID-19. Recent BYU graduate Rachel Getz said many doctors aren’t accepting new patients and some are only holding virtual meetings, something Getz said seems less helpful than in-person visits.

Getz said she has an appointment over the phone this week and is curious to see how it compares to an in-person visit.

Scheduling doctor appointments and navigating virtual meetings are the main challenges Getz said she’s experience. “I personally don’t feel like I have been more worried, but I have friends who are pregnant who won’t even leave their house.”

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