Navigating a pregnancy, whether for the first or fifth time, can be an exciting and challenging all at once. Even under normal circumstances, processing new information, making decisions and experiencing the physical changes can be stressful.
During the past months, pregnant women are facing all those normal occurrences while also learning how to exist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, the providers at Mercy Health are on high alert for depression and anxiety symptoms in pregnant women. They are also always searching for new ways to make giving birth less stressful and safe for you and your family.
Pregnancy during a pandemic
If you are pregnant during COVID-19, your prenatal care looks a little different than it normally would. You may be finding that unless you need lab work or other testing, your provider is offering the option of virtual visits. This allows for convenient access to your provider without leaving the comfort of your home. Additionally, if you have an in-office visit scheduled, you will be asked to wear a mask. This is to protect not only you and your provider, but the other pregnant patients as well.
Your provider should also be how you are coping during this time and offering a depression/anxiety screening called the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen (EPDS). The EPDS screening is typically done a few of times during pregnancy as well as at your six-week postpartum visit. However, many offices are having patients complete this screen more frequently during COVID-19.
Labor and delivery
Some women are extremely nervous about what labor and delivery looks like during a pandemic, and what kind of precautions to expect from hospitals. Who is allowed in the delivery room? What if I test positive for COVID-19?
While many hospitals have similar protocols around labor and delivery, some may vary slightly. Talk to your provider ahead of time about any of your concerns with labor and delivery. That way, you can work together to put a plan in place and alleviate any fears you might have.
Research tells us women who experience mental health struggles during pregnancy are more likely to experience them after pregnancy. In this time of high anxiety and isolation, more people are at risk of postpartum mental health issues than ever before.
Your provider should be monitoring your mental health even more closely at this time. Also, ask your loved ones to check in via video chat, as it is often friends and family that recognize mood changes in new mothers. New mothers are usually too busy concentrating on eating, sleeping and feeding their new baby.
Also, take advantage of virtual visits with your provider at this time, especially if you are having a difficult time coping with your pregnancy or postpartum recovery. You are not alone, and your provider has ways to help you navigate during this unprecedented time. At Mercy Health, our providers are committed to helping you have the healthiest pregnancy outcome possible.
Learn more about the maternity care services we offer at Mercy Health.