Local woman describes ‘nervous’ journey of being pregnant during pandemic

Local woman describes ‘nervous’ journey of being pregnant during pandemic

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Being pregnant can leave a woman feeling a number of emotions ranging from happiness to fear.

Throw in a global health emergency, and it’s understandable why that fear is elevated.

Gretchen Burcham and her husband were thrilled when they found out they were pregnant back in September. Fast forward a few months, and Burcham said she never expected something like COVID-19 to come along and turn things upside down.

“Beginning of March is when our thoughts and feelings changed to a little more nervous,” Burcham said. “You always think that something can happen. A global pandemic was not on the radar at least for me.”

Since the coronavirus hit Kentucky in March, Burcham said she’s made many adjustments to keep herself and her baby safe. Her due date is June 6. Burcham planned a baby shower via Zoom, limited who she comes in contact with and has been working from home.

“My husband is going out if we need anything,” Burcham said.

Senior Medical Director for United Healthcare OBGYN Dr. Ravi Johar said her concerns are valid.

“The worry is very common,” Johar said. “It’s enhanced by the unknown, and COVID is the unknown.”

According to the CDC, as of mid-May, mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 during pregnancy is unlikely.

“We have not seen transmission through the placenta,” Johar said. “The placenta is an incredible organ to protect the baby. We have seen some newborns with COVID, but it appears that may be from exposure immediately after birth."

”One thing I don’t want to happen is ... going into the hospital and potentially testing positive and then having our baby taken away from us," Burcham said.

“A lot of women are worried about going to the hospital and delivering at this time,” Johar said. “I think there are a lot of systems in place. The more they know, the more reassured they will be, that they will make it through this.”

Burcham said she’s sad that close family and friends won’t be able to visit her and her daughter in the hospital when she delivers, but she said she understands. All she wants is a safe delivery and healthy baby.

“I just want a safe and happy world for my baby,” Burcham said. “That she can grow up and have a somewhat normal childhood like the rest of us have had.”

A small study that was recently released suggests the coronavirus could cause damage to a pregnant woman’s placenta. The study involved women who had all tested positive for COVID-19.

Experts aren’t sure if the virus caused the damage or if it was unrelated. They stress that more research needs to be done.

Click here for the latest information about pregnancy and COVID-19.

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