Pregnant during the pandemic: How hospitals helped deliver healthy babies

Monongalia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Since the start of the pandemic, a new normal has started for almost everyone around the world. The same goes for how we bring new life into the world.

Ruby Memorial Hospital is one health care facility that has moved more towards seeing their patients through telehealth to limit COVID-19 exposure.

“It’s also been really great for women, so they don’t have to drive one to two hours to come to an appointment if things are stable,” explained Medical Director of maternal-fetal medicine and Labor and Delivery Services Dr. Annelee Boyle.

Doctor Boyle explained ultrasounds or blood pressure checks cannot be done over telehealth. Boyle experienced dealing with pregnant women with COVID while being pregnant herself.

“You put all the stress of being pregnant and then you add an illness on top of it, potentially a hospital admission, an ICU stay. Some women have done great, but others were not as lucky,” said Dr. Boyle.

One of the biggest obstacles she experienced was deciding to get the COVID vaccine while pregnant. Boyle received her first vaccine at 27 weeks pregnant when they only had limited data on COVID vaccines and pregnancies.

“I was weighing that against the known risk of Covid, especially in pregnant women who are more likely to get sick, more likely end up in the ICU, more likely to need a ventilator, more likely to die,” described Dr. Boyle.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said “Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant people and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people.”

Boyle said getting the vaccine is everyone’s choice, but you should get vaccinated beforehand if you are thinking about getting pregnant.

Since the pandemic, the labor and delivery department only allows one visitor with the mother, sometimes with certain exceptions.

“If there is a baby, we think will not make it well have as many family members as we can to meet the baby and if there is somebody under the age of 18 who need a guardian, they can have their guardian and the father of the baby as well,” said Dr. Boyle.

Fortunately, despite the pandemic, most women in the mountain state are still leaning towards hospital birth rather than at-home birth.

Doctor Boyle said things are slowly moving back to normal in the labor and delivery department.

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