Pregnant Women Consider at-Home Births, Birthing Centers Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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As cases of COVID-19 climb across South Florida, so do the anxiety levels for women weeks away from giving birth.

Ailyn Cuervo is due in early May and shudders to think her husband might not be allowed in the room for the birth of their daughter.

“My anxiety is at 1,000,” said Cuervo. “That is petrifying to me because if things continue to escalate in Florida the way they are, who knows where we’re going to be, and if that’s what they’ll implement down here, that’s terrifying not to have my spouse or anyone in the room with me.”

Calls are pouring in to places like Amazing Births & Beyond, a birthing educating and wellness center in North Miami Beach. Mothers-to-be are asking for midwife referrals and weighing their options to avoid a hospital birth.

“We’ve noticed a tremendous increase in calls of women exploring out of hospital births as their concerns about contracting COVID-19 increase and also as hospitals restrict support people during their births,” said Dr. Vivian Wheeler, founder of Amazing Births & Beyond.

Keeler, a longtime doula, says some of her clients already switched their plans to give birth at home or a birthing center in the last couple of weeks. But not everyone has that option.

Mother to three-year-old Adrian, Cuervo scheduled a C-section.

“I can’t do at home birth or much, I have to go to the hospital, it’s happening, so I’m just mentally prepare myself,” said Cuervo.

For women who labor at the hospital, doula services are still available, virtually.

”It’s working much better than we had imagined, we can still guide their partners so we spend time before the birth with hands on stuff the doula would still be doing,” said Dr. Wheeler.

“Just trying to find the positive out of it, as long as I can deliver a healthy baby and I’m healthy myself, that’s the best case scenario out of the worst case scenario,” said Cuervo.

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