As we all know COVID 19 the number of COVID-19 cases has been growing around the nation. One of the many detrimental outcomes that this pandemic has is the effect on pregnant patients who are delivering in the hospital. Although politics might differ (slightly) around the nation, our program allows for one support person to come to the delivery room (granted that the patient and the support person are COVID negative). This support person is not allowed to leave the hospital and if that does happen, unfortunately, the individual is not able to return to labor and delivery.
I find that during this time I need to be especially supportive of my patients more so than ever before. There are patients that deliver their firstborn after trying for years to conceive but unfortunately, their loved ones are either outside in the parking lot waiting or on some sort of video chat device gathered around the screen. I try to stop by as much as I can, call into their rooms, and provide reassurance when necessary. I get it, it’s a difficult time to bring life into the world… with so much uncertainty and challenges that lie ahead.
But on a brighter note, at least the patients that deliver are able to leave after a few days once they have fully recovered. Our antepartum patients, however, those that need to stay in the hospital for weeks at the time because of a variety of concerning etiologies affecting their pregnancies, often are away from their loved ones for a much longer period of time. I have found it helpful to recommend my favorite books, help them decorate their walls with photos of their families, and even chit chat while they have their lunch. The smallest gestures make the biggest difference in our patient’s eyes.
For my fellow colleagues out there, how have you found ways to connect with your patients and become their support system during this difficult time?