Some pregnant women opt for home birth due to hospitals' COVID-19 policies

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With many hospitals limiting or banning spouses and partners from the delivery room, some women are considering home births.

One reason pregnant women are searching for other options is because some hospitals are only allowing one person in the delivery room. New York-Presbyterian hospitals are banning spouses and birthing partners altogether.

Valeriana Pasqua is a certified nurse midwife in Rockland County who specializes in home births. She says with increasing concerns surrounding the coronavirus, some pregnant women are considering home births but that midwives who can perform these deliveries are in short supply.

“We need more midwives that can take on the numbers that want to birth outside of hospitals,” she says.

Jeni Howe is a doula who supports and guides pregnant women in the Hudson Valley, often through natural births.

She’s hearing from women now considering switching to birthing centers.

“So many women right now are trying to get out of hospitals because they want their partner with them,” she says. “The birth center, as of now, still has a policy of a partner and a doula.”

Pasqua worries with limited home birth midwives and space at birthing centers, some women may take drastic measures.

“Women are just going to leave hospitals. They are either going to birth by themselves unattended, which is really unsafe, or they are going to try to get us as midwives - to take them on and a lot of us just cannot take on anymore,” says Lowe.

Lowe is calling on the state to come up with a solution--possibly pop-up birthing centers--so pregnant women have a safe option other than hospitals.

For women who are preparing to deliver at a hospital without a spouse or birthing partner, it’s important to know that although a birthing plan has changed, women will not be alone and still have the support of doctors and nurses.

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