It’s typically a time of excitement, but many pregnant women who thought they’d be celebrating their little one’s arrival are instead facing so much uncertainty as the coronavirus spreads across the country.
“My pregnant patients are scared and anxious,” said Kasie Cassell, a nurse practitioner who works with new moms with the Columbia Associates in Psychiatry.
As anxiety about coronavirus rises, so does her caseload. Telemedicine is the way she sees all her patients now.
"This joyous time is now being turned into a time where they're being isolated," Cassell said. "They were looking forward to baby showers and family coming to visit. I had a mother this morning planning on a home birth, and now the midwives are not coming into homes, the women are being forced into hospitals and that just brings more fear and anxiety.”
Tean McCarthy is expecting her first child, and even though her obstetrician is still seeing patients, she says there are a lot of unknowns.
"They could keep my husband from going into perinatal appointments with me. I may not be able to have my mom there, so many unknowns. It's really scary, " said McCarthy.
Navigating the unknown can lead to problems at a vulnerable time for women.
“Isolation puts them at tremendous risk for anxiety and depression in the perinatal period and postpartum," warns Cassell.
She urges women and the people around them to pay attention to warning signs like hopelessness, insomnia and thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby. She says those all could be indications of developing mood and anxiety disorders.
There are several organizations that can help if you or someone you know is in need. Postpartum Support offers advice and online support groups. For more information, head to postpartumva.org or postpartumdc.org.