Consumer Reports: Making a pandemic birth plan

Posted at 9:21 AM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 10:21:27-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CONSUMER REPORTS/WTVF) — Becoming a parent is an exciting time and it can be stressful as well. Even more so right now, in the middle of a pandemic.

It can all be a bit overwhelming, giving birth in the time of COVID-19, but there are some things you can do now so you're more prepared when it's time to welcome your new family member.

As an ER doctor, working from home to keep safe from COVID-19 isn’t an option for Sandy Sicular. To complicate matters, Sicular is also six-months pregnant, which worries her wife Erin every time she leaves for work.

“She was very concerned, but we took all the necessary precautions," Sicular said.

This being their second child, giving birth this time will be totally different.

“Now as things ramp up again, it’s always in the back of our mind that Erin might not be able to join me or I’ll have to wear a mask while I deliver. We’re hoping that it doesn’t come to that point," Sicular said.

If you’re pregnant, it’s especially important you take extra precautions against COVID-19.

“There is evidence that pregnant women who have the virus are more likely to need intensive care unit admission, ventilation and advanced life support techniques," said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports health editor.

It’s important you keep up with your prenatal care, but you may want to talk with your doctor about ways to limit potential exposure to COVID-19.

“While you probably have to go to the doctor’s office for ultrasounds, it might be possible for some of your other prenatal appointments to be done virtually," Roberts said.

Prepare yourself for delivery by asking key questions in advance, like, where to go when you arrive at the hospital, how your experience might be different if you test positive for COVID-19 when you show up, and how many people can be with you during labor - which can be especially important if you’re planning to use a doula.

“If your hospital’s policy means your doula can’t be in the delivery room with you, they can still help you, whether virtually or by phone on the day. And beforehand, they can help you to clarify your own preferences and know how to advocate for them in the moment," Roberts said.

“You know, with the first baby, you don’t even think about these things. You’re just like, 'OK, we’re all going to go to the hospital, we’re going to have the baby and then grandma and grandpa will, both sets will be there when the baby’s out,' And this time it’ll probably be weeks before you know this baby can meet some of its grandparents," Sicular said.

And because you may not be able to have family and friends come over to help once you’re home, talk with them to see how they might support you virtually or in other safe ways, like maybe bringing you food and leaving it on your front porch.