When COVID-19 began sweeping the United States, it was clear that Rebecca Forman Lubin had to change her plans. The future woman canceled her baby shower, stocked up on everything she could find online, and heeded her doctor’s orders to stay home.
But there is not one thing for which she is not prepared: the possibility that she may have to give birth alone without her husband by her side.
“This thought is very scary and creates anxiety,” said Forman Lubin, a teacher who lives in Mahwah, New Jersey, a suburb of New York, the current epicenter of the country’s new coronavirus.
“I pray that this is not the case,” she said.
A total of 11 New York hospitals have announced that they are prohibiting spouses from labor and delivery rooms to avoid possible exposure to the virus. Forman Lubin, 31 weeks pregnant and expected in May, said she was concerned that other hospitals, such as Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey, nearby, would follow suit, as the number of COVID-19 infections are increasing exponentially.
There are many unknowns about the effect of COVID-19 on babies in utero, and the story of Forman Lubin highlights this uncertainty.
“When the epidemic first happened, I was 29 weeks pregnant and my doctor said,” It is no worse than the flu. You are fine as long as you wash your hands, ”she said. “But that was not the advice I received last week when my doctor told me to avoid leaving the house under any circumstances, even for the grocery store.”
“Fear and anxiety, as real as they are, will not rule the magic moment of the birth of a baby.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they did not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 could transmit the virus responsible for COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or childbirth. The CDC also expressed uncertainty about whether the virus is harmful to unborn babies and newborns due to a lack of data.
“We do not know at this time if any risks are posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19,” says the CDC on its website. “There have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or childbirth (for example, preterm delivery) in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, it is not clear that these results were linked to maternal infection. “
“We currently don’t have enough research to identify all of the risks,” said Texas-based doctor Dr. Peter Papapetrou.
Trinisha Williams, certified midwife and director of midwifery at the Brooklyn Birthing Center in New York, said the center receives a record number of calls from pregnant women who are concerned about exposing themselves or their newborns. born to the virus in hospitals. A second concern, she said, is to give birth without the support of a birthing partner or partner, such as a doula.
“We usually handle about 15 births a month at our center,” Williams told Fox News. “Our capacity is 30 births a month and I think we will reach our capacity.”
Williams said his biggest fear in the midst of the global pandemic was that some pregnant women would choose to give birth at home without the help of a midwife or health care professional.
“Midwives in New York State are really concerned that some women will want to do it at home,” she said. “We don’t want a woman to give birth without assistance. It’s our nightmare. “
Most hospitals in the United States still allow spouses to be present at birth, but restrict all other guests – although that may change in the coming weeks if more drastic measures are taken to slow the spread of the virus. .
“I am disappointed that my son cannot see the baby in the hospital after birth,” said Edy Comes, 25, of Hillsborough, NC, who is due to give birth in April in North Carolina. Chapel Hill Women’s Hospital.
“My hospital has declared that only your spouse or another loved one will be allowed to come to the hospital,” Comes told Fox News.
COVID-19’s current death toll in the United States has reached 1,000 on Thursday, and this grim reality is not lost on Forman Lubin, 38, who is in good physical health and grateful for access to medical care. specialized.
“I have a huge sympathy for all the families in the world who have lost loved ones because of this horrible virus,” said Forman Lubin, “my thoughts are with them right now.”
“The birth of a baby is the greatest joy in life,” she said. “Fear and anxiety, as real as they are, will not rule the magic moment of the birth of a baby.”