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Pregnant women anxious about delivering during pandemic

New parents having to adjust to new hospital restrictions

ST. LOUIS — The time we’re in is especially emotional for first-time moms. 

Imagine prepping for motherhood while also balancing the fear of giving birth at a hospital overwhelmed with sick patients. It’s added anxiety to what should be the best day of a new parent's life.

Shannon Fleming knows what it’s like to feel helpless in a situation you can’t control.

“We’re used to handling a lot of storms. This is just another storm to throw at us,” Fleming said with a smile.

She’s living with Lupus and her husband Corey has stage 4 colon cancer. He was diagnosed just six months after their wedding. 

So when they finally got pregnant through in vitro fertilization, it would only make sense that their pregnancy journey would be a bumpy one.

Credit: Shannon Fleming

“When this came up with the coronavirus and we were going to have our first baby during this whole crazy time it was just kind of fitting. It makes sense and just another thing for us to deal with,” she laughed.

5 On Your Side producer Megan Freeman is feeling anxious too. She’s due with her first child, a baby boy, in just a few weeks.

Freeman said she’s trying to stay positive through all the uncertainty, including canceled visits from the soon to be grandma and grandpa.

“My family lives in Minnesota, his family lives in California and we decided a couple weeks ago that it probably wasn’t a good idea for them to come out after the birth,” she said.

Dr. Juliana Verticchio is an OB-GYN with Consultants in Women’s Healthcare and delivers babies at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. 

She said many of her pregnant patients are feeling anxious about their labor and delivery, wanting to know what to expect when to arrive at the hospital.

One difference during this pandemic is expectant parents will be screened.

“Screening often involves taking one’s temperature and answering a multitude of questions to evaluate one’s exposure risk,” Verticchio said.

Most hospitals in the St. Louis area are only allowing one visitor, and if all goes smoothly, families are out in 24 hours instead of 48.

With all the restrictions and risks, some women are considering home births, inductions or even cesarean sections.

Verticchio said every woman should speak to her doctor about these options to decide what is best for her.

“There currently is no recommended guideline to deliver all patents via cesarean section during this pandemic,” Verticchio said.

The Flemings welcomed their daughter Cecilia into the world early Wednesday morning at 12:15 a.m. 

Both mom and baby are healthy.

Credit: Shannon Fleming

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