‘You can feel her kick on the outside, and I don’t get to share that’: Woman describes pregnancy during COVID-19 pandemic

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Torrie Satterfield is expecting, but she wasn’t expecting it to be like this.

“We’ve canceled my baby shower twice now,” said Satterfield. “It’s been hard, definitely now because the baby, you can feel her kick on the outside and I don’t get to share that with my mom and my grandma and my sisters.”

Hospitals around the country and here at home are changing policies amid the pandemic and limiting the number of people who can be with a pregnant woman during labor. Kern Medical, Adventist and Mercy and Memorial hospitals are all allowing one support person per mom. But a few hospitals, not here, have decided not to allow anyone in with the mother.

“It was going to be my sister and sister-in-law and my 16-year-old niece in the room with me, and now it’s just going to be me and my sister-in-law,” says Satterfield.

Because of that and fears about going into a hospital filled with sick people, more moms are considering home births. Dr. Roxanne Martinez McDermott, an obstetrician gynocologist is urging women to trust their doctors and hospital staff during this difficult time.

“Every hospital, every OB group, is taking every measure possible to try and minimize those risks,” said McDermott. “I’ve been reassuring moms that regardless when they give birth they’re going to have a super supportive nursing staff and doctor and most importantly we are going to make sure they’re safe and the baby is safe.”

Dr. Martinez McDermott does not recommend home births.

“Home birth has a higher risk of complications,” she said. “The rate is anywhere put out by ACOG (American College of Gynocology,) from 25-50%.”

While midwives say a home birth or birthing center isn’t for everyone, Marivette Torres, a local midwife, says it has some advantages in this pandemic.

“What are we being told right now? Social distancing, stay away from public areas stay away from groups,” said Torres. “I love hospitals. They are there for a reason. They are there to take care of people. Doctors and nurses are amazing. They’re all there to help us, but people need to feel safe and one of the safest places right now, by everyone’s recommendation, is to stay home. So if people are low risk that’s one of their options.”

She also says she has been contacted a lot more lately by women considering a home birth. Midwives in California are licensed by the state medical board and only authorized to attend the births of women considered low-risk. That means no pre-existing health conditions and a single birth. Satterfield says she at one time hoped for a home birth, but she is considered high-risk because of a previous heart condition. So while her birth plan may have changed, the location, has not.

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