FEAR: Our concerns as pregnant women/women trying to conceive/women in early postpartum aren't critical in light of the pandemic.
FACTS: Your doctor sees your health and welfare as critically important now. She's just as focused on your health as she ever was. If anything, she's worried about you not calling and showing up for appointments -- because not showing up/being seen by a doctor could create other health issues that she will have to address with you down the road. Be seen now. Her life's work is to see you thrive.
FEAR: A hospital Labor and Delivery ward isn't a place where I feel safe anymore.
FACTS: Labor and Delivery is chugging along, business as usual, and is a safe haven in the hospital. If you are pregnant with COVID-19 you will be taken care of in a separate room/location. Some protocols that have changed are with regard to screening for COVID-19, hospital traffic and length of hospital stay. Nothing has changed with regard to labor and delivery medicine.
FEAR: My birth partner can't accompany me to hospital.
FACTS: This was being considered in NYC but was actually overturned. Your birth partner can accompany you through birth. After birth, you will be sent home more quickly than usual so that you can be back with your family. Labor and Delivery Nurses are your advocates. Please share your birth and recovery vision with them, as they'll see you through delivery and recovery, even after your birth partner has gone home.
FEAR: Now is a bad time to try to conceive.
FACTS: It's wise to wait another two months. The reason for this is that most complications happen early in a pregnancy -- and complications leading to medical intervention at a hospital (or simply those that require support from a doctor) can be extra anxiety inducing right now. Within the next 1-2 months healthcare professionals expect COVID-19 to be more under control. Support for early complications will become more abundant at that time.
FEAR: As a Black woman, I am afraid of giving birth right now. There's a particularly tragic article recently about a Bronx woman who gave birth in Montefiore, and died during her C-section, after voicing her fears about dying during birth in the weeks leading up to her death. According to the article, she had requested visits with her doctor, but was refused. Are maternity wards “safe havens” for women of color?
FACTS: This is tough because all hospitals are not the same -- and yes public hospitals with minimal resources may be operating differently than those that have more resources (like having testing available) -- but women need to fight to be heard, and they need to escalate their concerns if they are not being met. They need to go into the labor floor if they can't reach their doctor and if they feel that something is wrong. Now, more than ever women need to advocate for themselves. Also, keep reading because you don’t need to be alone when you speak your needs.
FEAR: My doctor isn't in a position to advocate for me.
FACTS: You are your doctor's biggest concern. You matter. You are so important to your doctor that they're energized by their ability to stay open, stay available, and even adjust care virtually when needed. They're here for you. If you feel like your doctor isn't there for you, please direct questions to @drshirazian on Instagram. We know she has your back.
Read on for more on Dr. Shirazian’s dedication to women.
Saving Mothers’ mPOWHER program in New York City is training pregnant women through a health literacy program in partnership with local groups of health care workers. They help underserved women understand their pregnancy-specific questions and complications so that they feel empowered to communicate more effectively with doctors and nurses and engage their health care community. The mPOWHER Kit training includes training in risk factors such as pulmonary embolism, preeclampsia, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, health pregnancy, complications, labor and postpartum. For any questions, please reach the doctor at TShirazian@SavingMothers.org.
Another way that Dr. Shirazian has your back -- and the backs of women across the globe -- is the daily work she does to support communities in need.
If you go to the Mommy Matters website, you’ll find products designed specifically for pregnancy and postpartum. All proceeds will benefit their NYC program for underserved expectant mothers, Saving Mothers. We have a special code for Totum Women: NYMOM15 for 15% all products.
To learn more about Saving Mothers, and how you can get involved (especially if you’re local to the NYC area), go here: https://mommymatters.com/pages/saving-mothers. Each dollar donated to Saving Mothers will be matched (up to $10,000) by their anonymous donor!
Watch our webinar with Dr. Shirazian below.