What it’s like to be pregnant during the coronavirus crisis

Even though she’s pregnant and due in two months, registered nurse Megan Singh is still working on the front lines for a med surge unit floor for COVID-19 patients.

“As long as I protect myself I should be OK and take all the necessary precautions. We can’t really afford to just tap out at this point. People need us,” she said.

Signh says while she is proud to help others, she’s always thinking about her baby’s safety.

“There have been a lot of disappointments along the way, like cancelling my baby shower and the fact that my mother is not going to be in the delivery room with me. My fiancé can’t come to any of my doctor’s appointments with me,” she said.

Her concerns are echoed by Krystina Reilly, who is due on June 1 with her third child — a baby girl.

“We did start buying stuff like diapers and wipes because they are limited as well,” she said.

Her third pregnancy is no ordinary one. She’s now responsible for teaching her first grade son every day, and her husband risks exposure to the coronavirus every day.

“My husband is a fireman in Clifton, as well as an EMT in Clifton,” Reilly said. “That part is extremely stressful. As soon as he comes home, we basically have to decontaminate him before he enters to the house to make sure that he’s safe. He has to deal COVID patients a lot, Clifton has a lot of cases, so it’s a very stressful situation for us, even at home. I just hope that it doesn’t get worse and that I’ll be able to have my husband with me, even if no one can be there. I hope that at least stays.”

During a press conference, New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli confirmed that visitation policies are different at each hospital.

“Every hospital has a disaster preparedness plan, within the disaster preparedness plan are the recommendations for mandating in their own hospital a control of visitors,” she said.

Practicing gynecologist Dr. Mary Jane Minkin says it’s important for new moms to remember that polices and rules at hospitals will continue to change in order to put their safety first.

“You may see people coming in with these strange masks and gowns and stuff like that, but they are there for protection. And they’re really nice people in there, and they have been schooled on how to put on to put the gowns and the gloves on properly. Unfortunately, if mom is positive, that most of the hospitals are introducing a sort of a policy of separation to try to avoid passage to the baby,” she said.

About the length of separation, Minkin added, “it’s a little variable, and again that becomes the domain of the pediatrician, as far as the advice and the pediatrician’s recommendations.”

While the option of delivering at home may seem like a comforting alternative to expecting moms, Minkin strongly urges against it.

“That’s something I would not recommend. Now, especially when emergency services are so taxed, so far as if somebody, god forbid, has a problem getting a mom to the hospital in a hurry may be problematic. So I think you are far better off delivering in your hospital,” Minkin said.

And if you are expecting and suspect you may have the virus, she recommends calling your doctor first and not coming to the office.