ST. LOUIS — Information on the coronavirus changes daily as time passes and new data reveals something we didn't know before. The CDC recently put pregnant women into the high-risk group when it comes to the impacts of COVID-19. Making the stress of pregnancy even greater than before.
Tara Stevens and her husband found out they were pregnant with their second child back in February.
“We found out we were pregnant right before COVID-19 kind of went everywhere,” Stevens said.
Stevens is a mental health counselor and knows the stress pregnancy brings on, outside of a world health crisis.
“It was really hard to adjust because of all these unknowns. When will this be kind of cleared up? When will things be good and go back to normal? Will I see family members during this pregnancy?” Stevens asked.
This pregnancy is much different than her first. She has to FaceTime her husband during her ultrasounds because he's not allowed in.
“I'm all alone. My husband came to every appointment for my first son. You walk in and you see everyone else behind glass all in masks. All the doors are open and they don't let you touch anything. I bring my own pen if I need to sign anything,” she explained.
According to the most recent data from the CDC there have been 12,056 cases of COVID-19 in pregnant women in the U.S. and 35 have died.
Dr. Ebony Carter is a high risk obstetrician at Barnes’ Women and Infants center. She said women who became pregnant back in December, when the first cases of COVID-19 popped up, are just now reaching full term.
“We don't have any data on women who had first trimester exposure and that can be really scary. It's a data-free zone,” Dr. Carter explained.
Here's what Dr. Carter is sure of from the data they've gathered so far.
“Maybe pregnant women are a little bit more likely to be hospitalized, but they are no more likely to get it. No more likely to die. There are probably some increased complications that come along with it, but compared to the cousins of coronavirus, like SARS and MERS, it seems like pregnant women with COVID do much better,” said Dr. Carter.
All that being said, Stevens said had she known a pandemic was on the horizon, she might not be pregnant right now.
“I think that I probably would have waited. I would have enjoyed for my husband to come with me to appointments,” she explained.
All of this unknown is putting added stress on new moms who are now isolated with their babies more than ever before. A new study from the University of Alberta interviewed 900 new moms and found 40% reported feelings of depression compared to 15% before the pandemic.
There is support out there for new moms. St. Mary's hospital has a moms support group that now meets online. It’s called MOMS Line and can connect you with counselors, doctors or behavioral health specialists.