Pregnant during a pandemic: how local hospitals are adapting to keep moms and babies safe

Coronavirus

Pregnancy already comes with challenges. The pandemic has added a new layer of stress for parents. 

“This is really a different time. It’s a time full of anxiety and stress and anticipation,” said Doctor Mabel Wong, chief OB-GYN at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. “And probably some disappointment in the current circumstances. They may have had certain desires or hopes of delivery or how pregnancy would go.”

Hospitals have their own set of new rules for labor and delivery to protect their patients from the coronavirus, says Wong. 

At Kaiser Permanente, only 1 guest is allowed in the delivery room. 

“This is a new virus. This pandemic is a whole new experience for everyone. That also means, there’s a lot we don’t know. In terms of the pregnant population, it’s only now that it’s being studied, even in terms of the impact of COVID-19 in pregnancy,” explained Wong. 

On top of typical restrictions, pregnant women must be extra careful to protect herself and her baby from the virus. 

KHON2 reporter Sara Mattison is expecting her first child in July. 

“The biggest worry, is if I have COVID-19 when the baby is born. Because I don’t know what that would look like. You hear stories where moms with COVID-19 give birth and they can’t see their child. I can’t fathom a world where right after you deliver, you can’t hold your child. I can’t imagine that,” said Mattison. 

Skin-to-skin contact is among the first things done for mom and newborn.

Wong says if the mom has the coronavirus, the newborn is immediately taken to an isolet for protection. 

But what doesn’t change is the dedication within healthcare workers to deliver a healthy baby, said Wong. 

“We may look overly prepared with gowns and masks we have to have. But we are still smiling behind the mask. Hopefully they can feel that from us.” 

Wong also adds that to date, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 is passed from mother to baby in breastmilk. 

While a lot is still unknown, Wong says it’s important for expecting parents to cherish the experience. 

Ewa Beach couple Kelsey and Cody Maki are proud parents of Liam, born March 30. 

“If this continues for another 2 or 3 months, then we can see possible issues. We can’t see friends, we can’t see family. Community is a big thing. Right now it’s constantly video chatting with everyone, like, ‘Hey, look!'” said Cody Maki. 

*Note: Information involving the affects of COVID-19 among pregnant women and newborns could change as research continues. It’s best to speak with your physician for the most up-to-date information. 


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