CBS 42 NOW: COVID-19 impacts on pregnant women accessing maternal care

Coronavirus

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – (WIAT) The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how many women access prenatal care.

According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health of America Report on Maternal Health, 61% of commercially insured women surveyed nationally saw limited office hours from their doctors, and 48% had their appointments shifted to virtual visits.

More concerning is that over 1 in 4 women surveyed skipped prenatal care appointments since the start of the pandemic or when social distancing restrictions were put into place.

The COVID-19 pandemic also impacted delivery plans for the majority of women surveyed:

· 53% were not able to have a loved one in the delivery room with them

· 28% delivered at a different hospital than they originally planned

· 15% used a different doctor

· 15% shifted to a home birth

Postnatal care plans also changed for a majority of women due to COVID-19.

· 61% said their doctor’s office hours were limited

· 48% had their appointments shifted to virtual visits

· 25% of women missed their postnatal visits.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is important for expectant mothers to not skip prenatal care or postpartum appointments. If they are concerned about attending an appointment due to COVID-19, they are advised to talk to their healthcare provider about steps being taken to separate healthy patients from those who may be sick.

Access to quality care is critical to helping women lead healthier lives, have healthier pregnancies and uncomplicated births. Towards this end, Blue Cross has expanded access to telehealth for in-network providers with no member cost-sharing in addition to office visit consultations by physicians. This applies to members wanting to receive their care remotely to limit their exposure to COVID-19.

Information provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. For more details visit the website.

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