Birth in the Pandemic


©2020 C. Henry Martens

According to recent news, people being restricted from participating in births at hospitals.

But first… a little background.

“Hi,” I said to the person working the counter at the clinic, “My wife and I are new to the area and we are checking out local facilities.”

It was very apparent that we were pregnant, my wife with a seven-month baby bump. An older woman sitting behind the person we’d spoken to perked up, and before anyone had a chance to say anything further, she got up, approached us, and directed a comment to my wife.

“Oh, you don’t have to worry about anything. We take very good care of our mothers here. We strap you right down and give you all the drugs you want. You won’t even know you’re having a baby.”

My wife looked at me in horror.

I’m not even sure we said thank you as we beat feet to make a speedy exit.

We had just left the big city to live on a small ranch we’d purchased in rural Arkansas. Before moving, we’d done a lot of studying in preparation for our first birth. We expected the medical establishment in the metropolis we left to be geared toward industrial childbirth, getting mothers in and out as quickly as possible, hospitals making money, doctors making money, lots of people making money by turning birth into a business. But moving to such a rural community with agriculture all around, we had expected a more human, more knowledgeable, more empathetic slant to the needs of expectant parents.

Boy… were we ever wrong.

So we both signed up for a class to become Certified Childbirth Educators. We also found a thriving home birth community, and after meeting several midwives, we felt we had made the right choice with one of them.

This is how my wife and I began our journey into parenthood and also into the fascinating world of natural birth.

There is little doubt that most pregnant women reading this have already made the decision to have a hospital birth. And I’m not here to question your choices or to suggest anything else.

What I am going to suggest is that birth… in or out of a hospital… is a natural process that women have evolved to do successfully. In these times of Covid-19 and hospitals taking extraordinary precautions to limit exposure of healthy people, they are denying access to husbands, doulas, and other care givers that they deem non-essential.

And some mothers may be very hesitant in going to the hospital for a birth without their support team. So much so that they delay too long and their birth becomes imminent outside of a hospital.

I’m here to allay your fears. Certainly by now, if you have been keeping up with your prenatal checkups, you know if you have any issues of concern. And just like the odds of contracting the Coronavirus… the odds of having problems with your birth are low.

As I said, women have evolved to give birth.

After becoming certified as a Childbirth Educator, my wife partnered with another woman to teach classes. I also taught, but only in a class geared toward husband-specific issues. The woman who shared our class as an instructor has gone on to become a midwife in her own right, and my wife has taken Doula training.

The local doctor where we lived in Arkansas used to chide my wife and her instructional partner because their students were so comfortable in their pregnancies that they would often give birth before reaching the hospital, sometimes in the doctor’s clinic.

And that is the key to a good birth, in hospital or out, planned or in a less planned setting… that a woman does better when she is educated and knows what to expect, and is comfortable with her part in the process.

This is what I learned and what time and experience has impressed on me. Women are designed to give birth. Fear and avoidance are the enemies of good outcomes. If a woman understands this and buckles down to getting the job done, she is far more likely to have an easier birth and a healthier baby, and in a shorter period of time.

Regardless of where she is giving birth, or who is in the room or not. Let those around you worry about the things that don’t concern you directly.

These times are crazy, but if you focus on the job at hand and make it your priority of the moment, you and your child will benefit.

Be well and enjoy this special time. 

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1 thought on “Birth in the Pandemic

  1. Since the medical profession is paid by insurance and government it has gone down hill. The doctor no longer works for you, they work for insurance companies.

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