Prenatal, Birth, and Postpartum: Decisions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author(s)

Sarah Adams, Tishra Beeson

Faculty Mentor(s)

Tishra Beeson (Physical Education, School & Public Health)

Abstract

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

Presentation

8 thoughts on “Prenatal, Birth, and Postpartum: Decisions During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

  1. Sarah,
    This was such a great and informational presentation! I really liked how you added in personal quotes from the mothers as it helped make the presentation more personal. It is so frustrating to hear how stressed these mothers were throughout their pregnancy and postpartum. I feel like while taking care of the mother’s physical health is important, her mental health is just as important and this has been without a doubt disregarded throughout the pandemic. My hope is for future pandemics, that hospitals will be better prepared and will not constantly be changing the rules. I wonder how different the mother’s experiences would have been if the hospitals had a solid plan put in place?

  2. I really enjoyed your presentation and could relate to the women you interviewed. It was a very stressful and frustrating time to be pregnant. I experienced so many emotions during my pregnancy and after. I think we can learn a lot from this pandemic.

  3. I really enjoyed your presentation Sarah! I appreciated your use of quotes from the mothers and how you made this such a relatable experience even for those of us that were not faced with the same circumstances. I do hope that through the experiences many have faced through this global pandemic, more health providers and systems can be better prepared especially in regards to policies.
    Great work Sarah!

  4. Excellent Presentation, Sarah! I know it was hard for policies to stay consistent with information constantly changing during the pandemic. However, hopefully, they can find a way to make it more consistent if this ever happens again. Maybe you do not know this but did the policies ever change based on what county they were in?

    1. Hello Jennifer,
      Thank you! I also am hoping that this experience with COVID-19 will help to lay some groundwork for more consistency and preparedness in policy and public guidelines if this happens again. I did not study policies in other countries, however I do think that would be a great topic for research, and it might also be interesting to compare to findings here in the United States.

  5. Sarah,
    Great presentation! your presentation was very well organized and you delivery was very smooth and appropriately paced. Adding individualized experiences to each theme really personalized the issue and allow for a better connection to the information. Great Job!

  6. Tesla Richardson

    Hello Sarah,
    Excellent presentation; I enjoyed hearing about it. A question that I have for you is, now that there are a couple of vaccines that are available to take, what might be some changes to prenatal, birth, and post-partum?

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