There’s no way around it: Covid-19 complicates pregnancy. The healthcare system is strained. Many people are housebound. While experts have some concern that pregnant women and newborns could become severely ill with the novel coronavirus, the risk likely isn’t that high. But the virus is still a major issue for pregnant women and infants. For couples who are expecting, it adds a new layer of stress to the already very stressful situation of pregnancy.
So how are pregnant couples handling this new reality? Every pregnant couple likely understands two things: what used to work for them, what still does, and what new tactics they have available. But, whether it’s planning doctors visits, maintaining a functioning household with other children, dealing with the outside world, or just trying not to go crazy from stress, the solutions and saving graces are as unique as the couples themselves.
What is like to be pregnant during coronavirus? We spoke to a dozen pregnant couples, who all let us know how they’re dealing with daily life while planning for the future of their family in this uncertainty. Some are scared; others are taking quarantine at face value and trying to go with the flow. Still others are panicky. Here’s what they told us about being pregnant during coronavirus.
We’re Missing Out
“The most important thing during a pregnancy is obviously the baby’s health. But, there are a lot of other things we were looking forward to. The shower, the visits from relatives, just the whole ‘experience’ of having a baby has been completely taken away. And, we get it. It’s obviously for the best, but planning all that fun stuff would’ve definitely helped take our minds off of the stresses of pregnancy. Now we’re just sort of waiting things out, with one big thing – the most important thing – to look forward to at the end, instead of all the smaller milestones along the way.” – Meredith, 35, & Robert, 34, Michigan
We’re Anxious and Scared.
“It’s the uncertainty that’s killing us. When will this all be handled to the point we can go to the doctor’s office without having to suit up in HAZMAT gear, and pray that there’s no one else with an appointment at that time? I’m only three months pregnant, and the concept of having to deal with this for basically the rest of the year terrifies me. It terrifies both of us. My husband is doing his best, but we’re in uncharted waters, we’re young, and we’re scared. We have faith that things will be okay eventually, but right now we’re trying to stay sane while planning for and anticipating another six months of this.” – Samantha, 31, & Mark, 34, Kentucky
We’re Using a Support Group
“It’s informal, but two couples we’re close friends with also happen to be pregnant during this mess. So, we’re leaning on each other. There are three group texts – one for the girls, one for the guys, and one for everyone. Most of the time it’s just motivational texts, ‘hang in there’ stuff, and memes, but it really helps. When any of us are having a bad day, it’s a safe place we can go to seek support and, most importantly, remind ourselves that we’re not alone. We’re all going through this together.” – Erin, 31, & Alan, 33, California
We’ve Hunkered Down
“We’re taking the lockdown incredibly seriously. My husband is diabetic, I have bad asthma, and we’re six months pregnant. At this point, it’s a risk versus reward mentality, and we’ve got nothing worth risking out there. No trips to the store, no food we can’t live without. We’ve relied completely on delivery and curbside pickup, which has actually been a lot less stressful in terms of planning. We might not have as many options, but we can really make sure every order counts. I feel like we might come out of this much more efficient, actually.” – Rachel, 35, & Danny, 34, Illinois
We’re Overdoing It
“I’ll be the first to admit that my wife and I are both natural planners. The lockdown has completely exacerbated that quality in both of us. It’s really just a way to fill our days, at this point. We’re both working remotely, so when the work day is over, we’re still in that planning/professional mode. So we’ve taken to planning everything! Even the cliche stuff we’ll never use, like routes to the hospital, and birthing playlists. Anything you might see in a sitcom episode. And we know there’s no long-term point to it. But, like I said, it’s something we both like to do. Some people play Animal Crossing, we make lists and itineraries.” – Dennis, 32, & Jessica, 29, Ohio
“Well, my husband is remodeling. I’m seven months pregnant, so I can’t really do anything except pick out colors, but we’ve definitely used this opportunity to tackle a lot of house projects that we’ve wanted to do for a long, long time. We’d had the baby’s room done before the lockdown, but now we have a chance to make it even better. Before the lockdown, it was always, ‘We just don’t have the time.’ Well, now, we definitely do have the time, so we’re trying our best to plan for it while we’ve got it.” – Erica, 34, & Michael, 34, Connecticut
We’re Loving the Privacy
“When you have overbearing in-laws, a quarantine can be a nice thing (laughs). Both of our parents mean well, but it got to the point where we’d have to work in planned visits, be prepared for unplanned visits, and basically just be ready for anything when it came to the future grandmas and grandpas. Now, we only have to account for FaceTime, texting, and calls, which are much easier to divert if we have to. Again, I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the support, but it’s actually nice to have some peace and privacy.” – Maura, 33, & Jim, 32, Maryland
We’re Very Lucky
“Our doctors have been absolutely, one-hundred percent phenomenal. The way they’ve handled everything has taken so much pressure off of having to navigate visits, and plan around all this craziness. We’d never done anything like a virtual appointment before this, but our OB/GYN made everything so simple that we felt completely at ease with our first ‘visit’ and, more importantly, looking toward when our baby is due in a few months. This is our second child, so we’ve got a little experience, but nothing could’ve prepared anyone for this situation. Luckily, we’re in good hands.” – Anna, 28, & Mike, 30, Ohio
“We plan our trips very carefully. To the store to get food. To the doctor when we need to go. And anywhere else outside our home, really. And we have a lot of protestors in our area, just out and about, crowding up streets and acting like ignorant, entitled assholes. Number one, it makes running our essential errands harder and more frustrating to try and plan. Number two, it makes the possibility of prolonging the lockdown more real. I’m a protective husband, and now I’m becoming an overly-protective father because I see all these idiots putting my family in harm’s way. We hope it’s over soon.” – Alex, 38, & Carmen, 37, North Carolina
We’re Treating Ourselves
“Since we had to miss the baby shower and all the stuff that goes along with the pregnancy, we each signed up for a subscription box company to treat ourselves every month. It helps us prepare for when the baby comes by distracting us from the boring stuff once in a while. A surprise like this is a nice way to break up the monotony. Days fly by so fast that we’re both genuinely excited when we see one on the porch. We’re making the best of it, I guess.” – Holly, 35, & Jeremy, 34, South Carolina
We’re Trying to Stay Calm…
“…and, man, it’s hard. There are just so many…influences out there that can really mess with your head while all this is going on. The news. Social media. Crazy relatives. Normally, my wife and I don’t pay a ton of attention to any of them. But now, it’s all unavoidable. There isn’t a lot left to do, ya know? So we really need to plan our interactions with all of that stuff carefully. It’s not as bad as setting a timer – at least not yet – but we both have a certain ‘threshold’ we know we can stand before we start overanalyzing and losing our cool.” – Ray, 33, & Lindsay, 34, New York
“We already have two kids, and my wife is pregnant with our soon-to-be third. Planning has become our lifeline because of everything from homeschooling to doctors’ appointments to trips to the store. We’ve actually adapted to a pretty specific schedule over these past two months, so that we know who needs to help out with what, and when everything needs to be done. It’s weird to say, but I think this whole experience has brought us closer as a ‘team’, and made us more excited for the baby. I think when he or she comes, it’ll signal the end of one chapter of a lot of hard work, and the beginning of the next. We’re looking forward to getting back to normal, of course. But, for now, we’re doing okay.” – Will, 36, & Britney, 33, Pennsylvania