With all the talk and fear surrounding Pregnancy and Covid-19 at the moment, I thought it might be good to talk about a really positive benefit that I am seeing: an undisturbed pregnancy.
People have already commented on how the planet is enjoying the reduced air travel and industrial pollution. And today I saw a Facebook post about the clear water in the canals of Venice. Which are really fantastic positive benefits of the pandemic.
But I have also heard that pregnant women are having appointments, tests and classes canceled.
Whilst I disagree that antenatal education is nonessential, I think it is good that women are not being subjected to the usual “overtreatment” they get in pregnancy.
We have been panicking about Gestational Diabetes for a long time now but suddenly it is ok to cancel routine glucose tolerance testing because they don’t want healthy pregnant women hanging around hospitals for hours. And GDM is actually really quite a low risk anyway!
(Here is a great article if you want to know more about this: Gestational Diabetes: beyond the label)
Women are having appointments via telehealth or spaced out, which means they are not being subjected to an unnecessary amount of ultrasounds every time they see their OB.
How many women have sat for hours in a crowded hospital antenatal clinic, or waited a long time for her OB (possibly having to entertain a bored toddler) thinking “There must be a more efficient way to do this?” And suddenly, ‘bam’ there is!
Hopefully, we are creating a new norm in maternity care. When we see how well this all works, we can change systems to be more woman-friendly rather than hospital/staff friendly.
(EDIT 19/03/20 I have just heard that care providers are canceling routine 3rd-trimester ultrasounds for healthy pregnant women. This is great news because a study in 2019 concluded that their findings did not support routine ultrasonography in the third trimester for low-risk pregnancies. A win for evidence-based practices perhaps?)
Another thing that is happening is that women are looking into homebirths.
I am sure we will suddenly see the medical experts saying they are perfectly safe for healthy, low-risk women in an effort to take the pressure off hospitals.
(However, this may lead to other problems as we don’t have enough midwives certified to assist with home births. There is currently a petition circulating to MPs to see if this process can be fast-tracked.)
So I think it is really great that we are suddenly seeing pregnancy for what it is: a perfectly natural, healthy state for women to be in.
However, I do worry that because women have been told how risky pregnancy and birth are for so long, they may feel anxious now that they are being told it isn’t. And that they don’t really need all the monitoring and testing or they don’t really need to go to hospitals because they are not sick.
These mixed messages must be really confusing and anxiety-provoking.
A great way to deal with this anxiety is to do a childbirth education class. However, access to these is also being restricted.
I understand why hospitals are choosing to cancel classes, as they need to limit potential exposure to both patients and staff and they will also possibly need to deploy staff to other hospitals or areas of the hospital in the near future. So they are looking at ways to take the pressure of the system.
But there are still other options. Couples can still attend independent, out of hospital childbirth education classes or attend online courses.
This may change or couples may prefer to practice social distancing so I am happy to say that Hypnobirthing Australia™ is leading the way in making classes flexible. Hypnobirthing Australia™ is offering a variety of virtual and online options for couples.
I am also taking the precaution of asking anyone who is unwell; has recently traveled or had contact with anyone who has recently traveled; or who has been in contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case not to attend classes.
If a woman or her partner is unable to attend my classes due to the above restrictions or would prefer to practice social distancing at the time, then they have the choice of virtually attending my group class via Zoom or completing the course privately with a combination of online learning and private sessions.
After all independent childbirth education is all about offering couples choices.
The other great benefit of a Hypnobirthing Australia™ course is that couples learn lots of techniques to lower anxiety and fear. They also learn how to be comfortable with uncertainty.
In these scary and uncertain times, we all need to do what we can to help lower pregnant women’s anxieties.
(Here is a great article that I posted on my Facebook page earlier this week about pregnancy and Covid-19: Coronavirus while pregnant or giving birth: here’s what you need to know).
I highly recommend all pregnant women find a way to lower your stress levels at this time and enjoy the fact that you are able to have a much more undisturbed pregnancy than you usually would in most maternity systems.
Please be assured that you will be seen if you develop a complication during your pregnancy or birth. But as most women remain completely healthy and don’t need any interventions we will see a very positive benefit for this pandemic as healthy pregnant women are left alone to enjoy a lovely, undisturbed pregnancy.
And here’s wishing you all the toilet paper you need 🙂