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Pregnant women reexamine birth plans during COVID-19 pandemic

Midwives, doulas and birthing centers report uptick in business since virus outbreak.

CLEVELAND — Most of us are feeling the stress from the rapidly changing situation brought on by COVID-19. And through all this, there are those women preparing to deliver a baby.  Hospitals are taking precautions to keep mother and baby separate and safe from the virus. But it is leading some to rethink their birth plans.  

We caught up with Tiara Bivins and Katie Pylypiv, who both chose home births before the Coronavirus became a part of our reality.  

"He was born Saturday, March 7th at 6:13 p.m. in my bedroom, in a pool. It was awesome," reported Bivins of baby Oakland, who slept in his mother's arms.   

Midwife Julia Meyer, of Cleveland Homebirth was there to help Tiara bring her little boy into the world. Meyer will be there for Katie too, but she is also keeping up to date on the latest news regarding pregnancy and COVID-19. .   

"We are not seeing a lot of different data in the pregnant population, but they do need to take greater precautions because of their lower immune systems," Meyer cautioned.   

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A study in the British medical journal Lancet on nine pregnant women in China with pneumonia-related to COVID-19 found no evidence of infection transferred to their babies.

Across the country, midwives, doulas, and birth-center workers are reporting a rise in women now considering birthing outside the hospital. 

Concern over contamination, supply shortages, hospital overcrowding, and visitor restrictions are cited as reasons for the uptick. 

"I'm seeing more calls, interest in home birth versus hospital birth, just because of the risk of being exposed to the virus. And I think that's great that we all have options where to birth," Meyer said.

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Meyer is cautioning her clients to avoid stress and stay home. To all expectant women, she recommends staying in close contact with their health care provider and, if possible, seek prenatal care in their home, if possible such as through virtual check-ups or at-home visits. 

Having that option is a big relief for Katie, who also has a toddler at home.

"I'm a lot less stressed. It's been amazing since Julia does home visits. With a toddler crawling around and everything, I am just glad that he is not doing that at a doctor's office that I need to be at. So it's been really nice to be at home and be comfortable in my pajamas if I need to be," Pylpypiv said.

For more information on home births click HERE.