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New Moms Struggle to Stay Connected to Family, Health Care Providers During Pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- It's been nearly a month since California's statewide shelter-in-place order went into effect. For new moms and families, welcoming a baby into this world is proving to be an even bigger challenge than usual.

What was once a simple task, like visiting the doctor's office, has become more difficult for new moms during the pandemic.

"It feels lonely because I don't have the help I was imagining since I got pregnant," said Lucia Koonze, who gave birth to her son Byron shortly before the shelter in place order.

Coming home to family became the highlight of her life -- then it all changed.

"It's been really hard not being able to see family members face-to-face. It feels lonely," Koonze said.

Doctors, like Lizellen La Follette of La Follette OB-GYN and Aesthetic in Greenbrae, are concerned.

"We're seeing an awful lot of anxious patients who are depressed," Dr. La Follette said.

La Follette normally sees approximately 100 patients a week but now it's down to 20.

"If I'm concerned I'll have them come in immediately after the first Zoom meeting," La Follette said.

Meaghan and Ernest Owusu welcomed their triplets to the world on March 28.

"I had no idea if I could see my children being born," Ernest said.

"The difficult part has been that our family and community hasn't been able to meet them," Meahgan added.

The Owusu family says the support they've received from friends and family -- sending meals and encouraging messages -- has helped tremendously. They say they're grateful but they also realize new moms without a support system may be having a difficult time.

"I would tell moms to talk about it. Be vocal about how you feel and what you're going through," Owusu said.

"This is not the time when you're bothering the doctor. This is the time to reach out and we reach back," La Follette said.

La Follette recommends new moms experiencing depression, anxiety and stress create new routines. She also says they shouldn't hesitate to contact their doctors for help.

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