Being an expectant parent during a global pandemic can absolutely put a damper on what should be seen as a time of excitement and joy. As a second-time mother, I’m fortunate to be experiencing pregnancy through a more ‘seasoned’ lens. I can barely fathom the idea of having to go through a battery of doctor’s visits, tests, ultrasounds, and potentially even labor and delivery, for the very first time without a support person by my side. This time around, it’s just me and my enormous belly, confidently walking into appointments and then reporting back to the command center, fuzzy gray ultrasound photos in hand.
The uncertainty and anxiety around COVID-19 are enough to make any normal person feel like the world is spinning out of control, let alone being someone who is expecting to bring a child into this new world. Along with the aforementioned stresses, knowing that the celebration of a new baby will have to be limited to your immediate bubble and that leaning on friends and extended family in the first few weeks postpartum is not likely to happen, the silver lining is so barely visible.
Perks of a pandemic pregnancy
There are, however, some surprising perks to a pandemic pregnancy. Thanks to an indefinite work-from-home situation, I couldn’t have asked for a better commute. Plus, the stress of having to hide first-trimester nausea or awkwardly excusing myself from office happy hours was thankfully not an issue. Work travel was put on hold and I woke up every morning to a self-imposed ‘no makeup’ policy and a wide selection of stretchy pants. Not to mention, half of my doctor’s appointments are done via telehealth, saving me time and parking garage fees! And if quarantine has afforded me anything, it’s the quality time spent with my toddler and husband. This, in itself, has been invaluable and one that I’m grateful for every day, even as the little one enters into her terrible-twos.
To mentally and physically prepare oneself for the rigors of pregnancy during this COVID-19 pandemic, remember that health care providers are an excellent resource for getting the most up-to-date information on what to expect surrounding appointments, labor and delivery, COVID-19 risks, and ways to stay safe and healthy during this time. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention website is also another great way to stay informed on ways to reduce one’s risk of getting COVID-19 and what to do if exposed, pre or postpartum.
The use of telehealth is another beneficial resource available to both providers and patients. Prior to COVID-19, telemedicine was an effective way to reach patients in rural or underserved communities. In the wake of the pandemic, we began to see a shift as more and more practices adopted telehealth for their more at-risk patient populations. And for patients like myself, the ability to connect with my OB/GYN or my daughter’s pediatrician without the anxiety of setting foot in a high-risk environment alleviates an enormous amount of stress surrounding our safety. As we move out of the pandemic era, experts predict that the use of telehealth will continue to grow as patients desire easier access to health care.
Choosing a telehealth vendor
Providers should ensure they have the most secure and intuitive platform that both they themselves and their patients can easily adopt and stand behind. Working with a telemedicine vendor is not just about utilizing a video conferencing platform. It’s much more than that. pMD continues to make patients the center of its core mission. Providing a streamlined, safe, and secure way for patients to communicate with their health care provider, especially during a time of uncertainty, is what drives pMD to constantly evolve. Our collaborative approach and expertise mean that you’re not just working with a vendor but with a partner who cares about your patients as much as you do. There’s certainly no replacement for in-person care but the benefits of telemedicine have their place in the future of health care.