Sarah Adams, Tishra Beeson
Tishra Beeson (Physical Education, School & Public Health)
A global pandemic of the COVID-19 disease was declared in 2020 due to the spread of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. This research investigates how changes to public health guidelines and policies during the pandemic have affected the decisions of pregnant and postpartum individuals. Transcriptions of phone interviews from eleven prenatal and postpartum participants were analyzed using thematic coding. Seven different themes were identified. Nearly all participants reported negative emotions in relation to their decisions. This research provides insight into a subject that has relatively limited research available. Despite rapidly changing information about the risks of a pandemic event, the results of this study suggest that providers and health systems should systematically review policies and practices for harm and benefit to mothers and infants to ensure that select practices are evidence-based and support optimal maternal and infant outcomes. Clinical providers can utilize this research to inform their knowledge of how prenatal and postpartum patients may feel about decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because this research analyzes secondary data from interviews conducted in 2020, further research may be required to assess the continued relevance of the identified themes. Overall, respondents reported significant modifications or elimination of services, supports, and expectations they had intended for their pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum experiences. As a result of these changes, most respondents expressed sentiments of stress, anxiety, and isolation which may yield negative outcomes. Further research is required to investigate these findings.
Keywords: COVID-19, Prenatal, Postpartum