L&D nurses offering extra support to expectant moms during COVID-19

Published: May. 9, 2020 at 7:32 PM CDT
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Pregnancy and childbirth can already be stressful times. Now, with restrictions at hospitals during COVID-19, they can be even more so.

"I think it will change the way we permanently practice," said Ashley Frei, a labor and delivery nurse at CHI. St. Joseph Health.

Since the start of COVID-19 concerns, like on every hospital floor, things have changed for L&D nurses.

"I think the biggest change for us in L&D has been the level of support that we've had to step up and give our moms," said Frei.

Expectant moms are screened at the door, have to wear masks, and are only allowed to bring one other person with them.

"For some people that's difficult," Frei said. "I know for me, that would have been having to choose between my husband and my mom, and I know that sounds terrible but you want your family with you."

The new restrictions also mean some moms are alone.

"That means we are literally their full person," said Frei. "You're not just going and offering meds, and you're not just going and being there for the procedures. You're their full support through it all [and] their questions. They don't have a hand to hold; we are the hand to hold."

Frei says she also has to take extra precautions when she goes home.

"My main concern is for my own children actually," said Frei, who has three children at home. "[When I return home from work] I take myself straight to the shower, and then I take my stuff straight to the washer, and then I take a can of Lysol straight to my car."

COVID-19 has presented nurses with a lot of new challenges, but Frei says she thinks some policies should continue even after the pandemic is over.

"I think some positives have come out of this," said Frei. "I think we need to re-look at our visitor policy."

The hospitals are not allowed to say how many COVID-19 patients are there but reassure moms that a nurse treating a patient with the virus will not be treating anyone else without it.