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For Expectant Parents, COVID Pandemic Adds Extra Layer Of Anxiety

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- COVID-19 has brought on a lot of anxiety for many families and that is certainly true for pregnant women. A recent study from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found more than one in three pregnant women and new moms reported significant levels of depression. Before the pandemic that number was closer to 15%.

The uncertainty of COVID-19 has made many couples rethink their family plans.

Jackie Dawson found out in January 2020 that she and her husband were expecting their first child. Not long after COVID made its way to Minnesota, and Dawson, a nurse, was riddled with anxiety the rest of her pregnancy.

"The thought of being pregnant with COVID was honestly terrifying," she said. "I don't think I could ever forgive myself if something I was doing impacted my child."

She quit her job last month to avoid bringing home the virus to her 3-month-old. And she's not alone. A recent survey of 4,000 people showed 30% had changed their fertility plans because of COVID-19. Of those, nearly half are delaying having kids.

Thirty-year-old Taylor Loeber, of Mound, and her husband pushed back having another baby because of the pandemic.

The CDC says pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness, even death from COVID-19. Their babies might be at risk for pre-term birth.

Loeber wonders whether or not she would get the vaccine if she did get pregnant when there have been no studies on pregnant women.

"That was my number one concern," she said. "I totally feel like I'm on my own."

An OB-GYN with Hennepin Healthcare told WCCO that in general they are not recommending women delay getting pregnant, but that it's an individual decision based on risks and benefits they should discuss with their doctor.


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