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Experiencing pregnancy during a pandemic

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

A study finds pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit, and are at increased risk of death compared to nonpregnant women.

UnityPoint Health St. Lukes officials said as far as giving birth goes, the hospital is 100% safe and it is very unlikely that a developing fetus can get COVID-19 from their mother.

Experiencing pregnancy is supposed to be sunshine and rainbows.
The experience for expecting mothers now is very different because of COVID-19.

Siouxlander Dacia Weir found out she was pregnant about a week after this was labeled a pandemic. Weir said what scares her the most is the unknown.

"Being pregnant it's like this is a whole different ball game I'm trying to do everything in my power to keep this little person safe inside of me, so god if I get this virus I have no idea how it's going to impact me, and nobody has any idea how it's going to impact her," said Weir, a Sioux City Resident.

To keep everyone safe, UnityPoint Health St. Lukes put several restrictions in place. Their policies for regular OB appointments now say you can only bring someone with you if you are getting an ultrasound, and masks are required.

When it comes to giving birth itself, there are also safety policies in place.

"We want to protect our mamas and babies. We have universal masking in place, but we have also limited our visitors, our policy is now one visitor per patient," said Stacey Petersen, Birth Center Manager.

Petersen said the visitor is encouraged to stay at the hospital the entire time. For Weir, not being able to have any more visitors is okay. She said as long as it keeps her baby safe and healthy she is all for it.

"We get 48 hours to ourselves as a little family of three before we have to step out into the real world," said Weir.

Peterson said another thing that has changed during this time is that moms are going home a little bit sooner.

Petersen said they are expecting a baby boom of what they call "COVID babies" early next year. She says these are the babies that were conceived when we were first homebound because of quarantine.

Many times hospitals require a proper car seat to take your newborn home in.

Sioux City Fire and Rescue has a program to teach new parents how to properly install a car seat in a vehicle.

Captain Dustin Johnson said they have five certified car seat technicians.

They have all taken a 40-hour course to know the ins-and-outs of installing a car seat safely.

Johnson says having a properly installed car seat can prevent 71 percent of child deaths.

He says almost half of the cars on the road that have child safety seats are installed incorrectly.

"When they leave the station after they've met with us they feel good about installing that car seat, and we are able to answer all the questions that they have have, and then when they leave that child is much safer than when they arrived," said Dustin Johnson, SCFR Captain.

If you need help installing your car seat you can call the community risk reduction office at 712-279-6377.

Xava Parra

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