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Hospitals helping new parents through coronavirus struggles

Pandemic adds extra pressure to pregnancy, birth
Posted at 10:08 AM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 13:32:34-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - For women who are pregnant, or for new parents, the threat of coronavirus adds an extra layer of uncertainty to an already stressful time.

That's why Sharp Mary Birch Hospital has been adding extra services to make sure people get all the help they need at every stage of pregnancy.

"I think the most important thing to know is that their care, the safety of the delivery, and the safety of their newborn has not changed at all; zero percent," says Nicole Giangregorio, the manager of Women's Support Programs at the hospital.

Since the middle of March, 950 babies have been born at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital.

Giangregorio says the entire Sharp Healthcare system has made adjustments to their service.

Pre-natal are now all done online. Doctors' appointments in the months directly before and after birth are restricted to just one parent. They've also moved pre-natal classes online and are doing tours of the hospital virtually.

During birth, only one additional family member or support person is allowed in the delivery room.

And the hospital is using strict mask and sanitation guidelines for all staff and patients.

"Unfortunately, it's still very stressful," says Giangregorio. "These parents have envisioned a certain experience and certain people and certain circumstances for the birth of their child. That looks very different today."

Alexis Avina, who gave birth to her son Luca on April 1, says she's been in close contact with doctors since then, and she's happy with how they've responded to her needs.

"So I've been able to message the pediatrician or my ob, and I've gotten responses almost within an hour," says Avina. "It feels immediate."

The hospital also says they're post-partum depression support group is still meeting virtually, as the isolation of stay-at-home orders can have a negative impact on women's health after birth.

They're also keeping the "New Beginnings Boutique" at the hospital open, where anyone is free to come in and buy supplies, use the baby scales, and get support and advice on breast-feeding.

Giangregorio says it's all to make sure parents and babies stay healthy.

"Whatever they want, we will continue to adapt for them."