person from San Marino (María)

Giving birth during Covid

María's goosebump moment

Giving birth during the Coronavirus pandemic – Maria’s goosebump moment

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“Hello! I am Maria and I am from San Marino. My goosebump moment happened during my obstetrics rotation when I met a pregnant woman who had gone into labor with her second child. Her story was different than the rest of the moms because she had her first child as a teenager, and this was her first planned pregnancy. So, her excitement was off the roof. After hours of contractions, waiting to be fully dilated, in a hospital alone with people she did not know because her husband had to stay in the waiting room due to Covid restrictions, she finally gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. The thing is, after giving birth, she held her baby for 5 seconds, and then the baby had to be checked by a pediatrician to see if everything was in order, so she had to wait for the baby in the cold recovery ward. Hours later, I asked the doctor if I could take the baby to his mom so that she could be with him. I held the baby and went to see the new momma; I then peeked into the room and asked her “Are you ready to see your baby?” Her face lit up. I have never seen a mother so excited, so happy, and crying with joy to see her baby after everything she went through. It was amazing”.

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Being born in the shadow of Covid

At a time when everything seemed to revolve around the pandemic, we might have thought that life stopped because we stopped doing most of the things that filled our days.

But, of course, this is a misperception that all pregnant women can attest to quite well. Their babies were still growing in their bellies, and for many, delivery took place during the pandemic.

Pregnancy and the birth of a child are transforming experiences that test our expectations and demand flexibility, and if we add to the transformations of pregnancy and becoming a mother and father, the uncertainty and fear of infection by COVID-19, as well as the obligation to comply with preventive health measures, it all turns this experience of gestation and childbirth into a challenge where finally the anguish is overcome by the joy of an uncomplicated birth in the midst of alternative paths to social contact.

Coronial babies

Babies pandemials, coronials, baby-coronials, are some of the nicknames given to those who came into the world at the time when the Coronavirus seemed to wipe out everything. Specifically, they are the babies born from the mandatory isolation decreed by governments as an instrument to stop the pandemic.

Being born in times of pandemic undoubtedly implied a range of advantages and disadvantages. The visit of the grandparents, the outing to the square, the first meetings, everything that could not be, and that was replaced by the video call, was compensated by the intimacy imposed by being at home waiting for the virus to pass and the new normality to arrive.

Many moms found a greater rapport with their baby in this time without visits, without rings, without opinions, and many dads have felt an emotional approach to the world of care, which has been happening culturally.

Falling birth rates in times of pandemics

The health crisis caused a drop in the birth rate in 2020, in some cases unprecedented since World War II, especially in developed countries. According to an article in the French newspaper Le Monde, fear of an uncertain future and the economic repercussions of the crisis are the main reasons for this drop in the birth rate.

Using a database on human fertility, the demography institutes of the University of Vienna (Austria) and Max-Planck (Germany) compared the figures available in 34 countries. Contrary to what was initially thought, confinement did not lead to an increase in births.

In Latin America, the report highlights 6.2% fewer births in Brazil last year, with a total of 2.6 million babies coming into the world in that period.

However, changes brought about by successive confinements and strategies to curb the Covid-19 pandemic also led to many unplanned pregnancies. The report warns that 12 million women did not have access to contraceptives, especially during the spring of 2020. The number of unintended pregnancies is estimated at 1.4 million due to the health crisis.

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