NORWOOD, Mass. — Raising kids takes a village, but so does delivering a child.
Yet, women across the world do it, sometimes in completely unprepared environments, the old-fashioned way. But, just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s every mother’s dream to have to handle their baby’s birth all on their own.
For many women, the feeling of having friends and family surrounding them during the birth process provides a sense of security and community that is crucial during such a difficult process.
However, as the novel coronavirus pandemic has put many things around the world on hold, delivering babies has not been a top priority for hospitals overwhelmed with sick patients. Expecting mothers in Massachusetts are afraid hospitals in the area will follow what New York hospital did, where, due to the high volume of patients, mothers are being forced to go through childbirth on their own.
We’ve seen the stories of people showing family members their newborns through the window, but going through the delivery process completely alone brings a whole form of fear to women like 30-year-old Meaghan Biega and her husband.
Expecting their first child in May, the couple is getting ready to set up their baby girl’s room as the fears of coronavirus loom.
“[I’m] just trying to stay calm and think about what my delivery will look like with my baby,” said Biega.
For Biega, who already suffers from anxiety, the feeling is overwhelming.
“Our little girl, she has I think two cords, I instead of three cords connecting her to the placenta,” said Biega. “Not having that support person with you makes things that much scarier.”
At least for now, there’s good news for Biega, who plans on giving birth at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. A spokesperson for the hospital told Boston 25 News “patients may have one partner or birth support person accompany them.”
At Massachusetts General Hospital, a spokesperson says, “We are still allowing as long as that visitor is symptom free and is not otherwise on quarantine for exposure or other increased risk of COVID-19."
With the spread of the coronavirus fears in labor and delivery rooms, expecting mothers might be asked to wear masks.
“If the woman has symptoms of respiratory viral symptoms, yes they will have to wear a mask to protect her support person, baby and health care workers,” said Dr. Robert Barbieri, of Brigham and Women’s.
Smaller hospitals like South Shore Hospital say they are also only allowing one person in the labor and delivery room.
One woman Boston 25 News spoke to said her husband was in the room when they were delivering twins, but her other family members haven’t met the babies yet, as those have turned into phone and Facetime introductions.
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