5 Ways You Can Prepare for Delivery During COVID-19
Getting ready for the birth of your baby is a time like no other. Your mind is swirling with checklists as you prepare your home and the nursery, and stock up on supplies. On top of that, your birth is approaching and you know you need to prepare for that, too. So we asked our friend, Liesel Teen, from Mommy Labor Nurse, to share her advice for preparing for your delivery during COVID-19.
There’s no way around it! The birth of your baby is an exciting time, but also a time that’s full of unknowns and anxiety. And now you have to do this during a pandemic? Mama, I feel for you so hard.
As a labor and delivery nurse, I am seeing firsthand the fears and struggles of giving birth during this time. A moment of your life that should be full of joy and awe, is being shadowed by fear, questions, and even MORE unknowns.
I’m all about empowering mamas to have their very best births. It’s why I started my website, Mommy Labor Nurse. And today I’m grateful for the opportunity to share some of my top tips to help you prepare for labor and delivery during COVID-19 to help make the experience a little less daunting.
1. Get educated virtually
Nearly every in-person gathering across the country is on pause right now––and that includes childbirth classes, newborn preparedness classes, and prenatal fitness.
The good news is that you don’t have to skip it! In fact, I might argue that now it’s more important than ever to get educated before you give birth. There are enough unknowns right now, and childbirth education is one of the best ways to erase some of the fear and anxiety you may be holding onto about your birth.
Even newborn care classes, breastfeeding basics, and prenatal fitness classes are available online! When choosing an online option, look for a class that’s taught by an expert in that area. Opt for classes that you can do at your own pace and can access whenever you want.
As a bonus, many classes have online communities associated with them, which can be a great way to get connected right now while you’re sheltering at home.
2. Rethink your hospital tour
Touring the labor and delivery unit where you plan to deliver is such an important part of your labor preparedness. But, yup, you guessed it––most hospital tours are cancelled right now. Luckily most hospitals are offering virtual tours.
Ask your provider at your next telehealth visit or check your hospital’s website to see if they have a virtual option. Some hospitals are putting together video tours to watch at your convenience. Others are actually holding live tours via Zoom or other teleconferencing platforms so that you can ask questions in real-time.
I really encourage you to take advantage of a virtual hospital tour, because again, it’s a way to visualize your birth and erase another source of anxiety.
3. Ask all the questions
As you prepare for birth during COVID-19, it is NOT the time to hold back on any questions. In fact, now it’s more important than ever to really understand your hospital’s policies, policy changes, and the way that your birth will be impacted by the pandemic.
Here are some question themes and ideas to help you get a list going for your provider:
- How will my birth be different than a birth during normal times?
- Am I able to have a support person? What about a doula?
- What safety protocols will my support person need to adhere to? (for example, temperature checks, mask wearing, not leaving once they enter, leaving within a few hours of the birth, etc.)
- Can my baby room in with me? Will the length of my stay be different?
- Can I opt for an early discharge if baby and I are doing well?
- What labor coping options may not be available to me? (for example, Nitrous Oxide and walking the halls)
- Are lactation consultants still available and making regular rounds?
- Are food policies different? (for example, takeout, in-hospital cafes, food access on the labor and delivery floor, etc.)
4. Connect with pregnant mamas in the same boat
Preparing for birth can feel isolating and lonely. One of the best ways to combat that is by connecting with other pregnant mamas. But I get that’s not an in-person option for most mamas right now!
I encourage you to get involved in as many online communities as possible. Hear about what other mamas are going through, share your fears and victories, get tips and advice––seek solidarity, mama!
5. Use technology to your advantage
In addition to social media and online prenatal education, think about how technology can help you bridge the gaps of social distancing to share this exciting and special time with loved ones. While it’s FAR from ideal, schedule regular video calls with the grandparents-to-be and other family members.
Lean on your friends and family virtually for support as your birth approaches and also during the postpartum days. Technology is truly amazing, and can create connections during a time that you need them more than ever.
I wish this wasn’t a reality for you right now. I wish the happiness of this time wasn’t being taken away from you. But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be! You can still rock your birth. Take some time to grieve the fact that this time in your life isn’t what you expected, but rise up and take it back!
You can do this. I believe in you, Mama.
Liesel Teen is a labor and delivery nurse (L&D RN), mama, the face behind the popular pregnancy Instagram page @mommy.labornurse and creator of the online childbirth class, Birth It Up. Birth is something she’s been passionate about for as long as she can remember, and she loves sharing her nursing knowledge to help mamas-to-be learn more about pregnancy and birth. She lives in North Carolina and is expecting her second baby in August 2020.