Expecting parents look for alternatives to hospitals during pandemic

As hospitals focus on treating patients with COVID-19, expecting parents are seeking out other options when it comes to welcoming their new babies.

BirthCare and Women’s Health is a birth center in Alexandria, Virginia, and earlier this year,
they did about 10 births a month. But, recently, they’ve doubled that.

“We’ve had to close to people who are due in May,” said Marsha Jackson, the owner and a midwife at the center.

Jackson said more women are choosing birth centers or at-home births due to health concerns at hospitals and other limitations when it comes to visitors.

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“They’re decreasing the amount of support people that women can have, and they’re hearing all the stories about people being so sick. It makes them really fearful for themselves and for their unborn baby,” Jackson added.

She said now, in addition to working to secure personal protective gear and keep staff and new parents safe, they’re also incorporating telehealth options.

A new community of midwives has also emerged in an effort to provide support among themselves. “Some of the good things that have come out of this is we’re working to get through this together,” Jackson said.

Researchers are still learning about the impacts of COVID-19 on pregnant people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted on its website that it’s still unclear whether pregnant people have a greater chance of contracting the illness, but added, “Based on available information, pregnant people seem to have the same risk as adults who are not pregnant.”

The University of California, San Francisco is enrolling pregnant or recently pregnant women who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are awaiting test results into a nationwide study.

WTOP’s Teta Alim contributed to this report.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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