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Coronavirus In Minnesota: Doulas, Expecting Moms Prepare For Virtual Support

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- COVID-19 is disrupting life for everyone, including pregnant women.

While deliveries will of course go on, the pandemic means some of the moms won't have the support they were counting on.

The most precious of moments in Masha Romer's life came with some unexpected trauma. Her son's delivery took 43 hours, and he developed pneumonia after birth. He's OK now, but it's a scenario she didn't want to repeat with her current pregnancy.

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"I just wanted someone to be there to advocate for me, to help me make the right decisions during delivery," Romer said.

So she and her husband hired Sue Chargo, an experienced Minnetonka doula who assists moms as a soothing birth coach.

"Very hands on. I mean, we are in a field where it's all about relationships and, you know, being together face to face," Chargo said.

But that's had to change because of COVID-19. She has to FaceTime not only with WCCO, but also with her clients -- even possibly through their births.

"I don't see how Facetime is gonna do it justice because a doula's also there to help you physically, to massage you in the right way, to put you in the right position," Romer said.

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But she has found comfort in Chargo's virtual labor preparation sessions. While her physical support is limited, her emotional support is in full swing.

"Right now, it's good for us to kind of keep positive and reassuring, and let them know that the support is still there for them," Chargo said.

She has two upcoming births, and at least one will likely be virtual because of limited visitation.

Romer has ten more weeks before her due date.

"I never imagined this would happen," Romer said. "It's a scary time to be pregnant. "

But she knows she's in good hands, even if she won't be able to feel them.

"My goal is these clients know they will be just as supported as if I was there physically," Chargo said.

Because visitors are limited at most hospitals, doulas are not always allowed, but they are still allowed for now in some birthing centers.

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