Expecting Moms Discuss Navigating Pregnancy Throughout Pandemic

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Expecting mothers can expect a bump during pregnancy, but COVID-19 has created a whole different set of bumps.

NBC 6 spoke to pregnant women about how they are navigating pregnancy throughout the pandemic.

Pregnancy is such a different experience for all women, but the pandemic has led to some very similar frustrations and fears.

“You have all of these hopes and dreams of your first baby and you want to celebrate and do all these things, (but) it’s just not possible, it’s just too risky,” said local mother Stefani Caro.

Christina Cañizares is 13 weeks pregnant with her first child and her concerns are something other women and doctors are familiar with.

“Already it’s stressful with this going on. I think everybody wants it to end," Cañizares said. "But when it comes to being pregnant and COVID, it’s a whole different world. Not only do you have to worry about yourself, but now you’re worrying about this baby and your significant other."

In classes that expecting mothers take before delivering, they build friendships and connections, and a lot of women are missing out on that aspect because there’s something about that virtual connection that is not the same.

“I think for a lot of women when they imagined being pregnant, they dreamt about being surrounded by friends, and joy and baby showers, and now they find themselves feeling very isolated and supported and with anxiety levels that are off the charts,” said Dr. Vivian Keeler, who owns Amazing Births and Beyond in North Miami.

The center helps women navigate pregnancy through classes, workshops and services. They, too, have had to adjust.

"I think these families are just craving connection and they need friendships and they need support, so we're doing the best to fill the gaps with COVID restrictions,” Keeler said.

“Definitely, the isolation I felt, especially in the beginning, when there was little to no data on what would happen to the baby if I caught COVID,” said another mother, Lynne.

During the pandemic, OBGYN doctors have put restrictions on partners attending appointments and even visitors during the birth. At Memorial Hospital, no visitors are allowed except for the spouse or significant other. The same policy applies to Baptist and Broward Health.

“Not being able to have my husband come with me to ultrasound appointments -- even though it’s our third, it’s just as exciting as having our first and second. So that’s been kind of a bummer,” said one local mom.

“Spouses were restricted from attending doctor’s appointments, so my husband’s first time listening to the heartbeat was through a recording,” said another mom, Marie Louis-Jeune.

Child birthing classes are now virtual and for some, so are traditional celebrations. 

“The gender reveal, we got to find out that we are having a little baby boy and you know, my parents weren’t there. Everything was on FaceTime,” Cañizares said.

It’s an adjustment that not just soon-to-be moms are having to make as a result of the global health crisis. 

For Cañizares, she’s taking a day at a time approach and she said the biggest emotion right now: gratitude.

“It’s a blessing now and it sounds like a complaint, ‘Oh my partner can’t be at the ultrasound,’ but it is what it is at the end of the day. We’ll take what we can get. If it’s just a picture or a soundbite to hear the baby I’ll take as long as it’s healthy,” Cañizares said.

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