Pregnancy during the pandemic means expectant mothers are having to take more precautions to keep themselves and their baby healthy.
A study from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Upon admittance to the hospital, pregnant patients are now tested for the virus as a safety precaution.
Tenet Health Central Coast Labor and Delivery Shift Manager Kelleigh Sorenson says both COVID testing and visitation changes have been seen at the hospital since the pandemic began.
“Currently they can only have one visitor for the entire duration of their hospital stay and usually it’s their spouse, but it can be whomever they designate as that one person," Sorenson said.
For Arroyo Grande resident Mckayla Rodriguez, limited visitors meant her family missing out on important milestones during check-ups.
“The ultrasounds are supposed to be exciting, but when it's only you there, it's not as exciting because you don't get to see the joy of your family members," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez had her son last month and opted to change her birthing experience to deliver at home, to reduce the risk of illness and feel more comfortable during the labor process.
“Birthing at home, we didn't have the restrictions, we didn't have to wear masks in our own homes, we didn't have to worry about catching COVID," Rodriguez said.
Labor and delivery in the hospital also looks different, with more personal protective equipment worn by medical staff and patients.
Mothers are required to wear masks during the labor stay while staff is in the room, but are allowed to remove it once the labor process begins.
Sorenson says it's up to women to decide how to go about their birthing experience and hopes doctors provide a similar birthing atmosphere to what was in place prior to the pandemic.
Tenet Health has not determined when more visitors could be allowed back in the hospital.
The CDC has not stated if pregnant women are on the priority list for getting the COVID-19 vaccine.