Kate McDonald

Pregnancy is a time filled with uncertainty for many women. So is living in the time of coronavirus.

On Friday, March 27, 2020, I will be 29 weeks pregnant.

Almost two weeks ago, Twin Cities PBS (my employer) told me that, since my pregnancy puts me at a high risk for COVID-19, I needed to work from home. At this time of incredible uncertainty, I know that this is a luxury not all people in my situation can afford. My doctor has shut down one of their clinics, and canceled all non-essential appointments for pregnant women or moved them online.

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Editor’s Note: As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds in Minnesota, certain details in our stories about the impact of the virus may become outdated within hours, days or weeks of our publication. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus in Minnesota, please visit the websites for the Office of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan or the Minnesota Department of Health.

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The hospital where I am hoping to give birth is now restricting visitors to one a day – which means that the doula I engaged to help me and my husband during the birth of our daughter can no longer be present. Our doula also just warned us that there is a possibility that, if the virus is still ravaging our community in June when I’m due, my husband might not be allowed to be present at the birth of his first child. This is something that is already happening in New York City, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the United States.

A friend suggested that I should consider a home birth or birth center if things get worse.

I know I am not alone. I know many pregnant women who are desperate for support and information.

Therefore, I am on a mission to track down some much-needed facts from experts, and to meet some people along the way who will give us hope and make us feel less alone.

In just a mere matter of weeks, this virus is already illuminating the many pain points in our society. Through a series of episodes, I plan to share others’ personal stories, and to interview health and pregnancy experts. I also hope to address some of the topics that stirred debate before COVID-19 and that are ever-more complicated now, including sick time and maternity leave, access to affordable health care, along with gender and social justice issues.

Pregnancy affects almost everyone  – either by trying (or not trying) to get pregnant or by getting (or not getting) someone pregnant. But pregnancy is also a topic shrouded in secrecy, mystery and oftentimes fear. Even more so now.

I’m not used to sharing my personal story. But these are unusual times. Along the way, I look forward to hearing from you – about your questions, your fears, your hopes, dreams, and joys, too.

We’re in this together.

Stay tuned for more installments of Pregnant in the Time of Coronavirus.

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In you are pregnant and/or looking for resources for pregnant women during this pandemic additional information can be found here:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a Q&A of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding available here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has a pregnancy/breastfeeding and COVID-19 page here

ACOG Practice Guidelines: The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a practice advisory here.

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Like so many Minnesotans, Twin Cities PBS Producer Luke Heikkila found himself suddenly camped out at his dining-room-table-turned-desk after a work-from-home mandate. But then he realized something: His neighbors were spending a lot of time outside. So he decided to check in with them to see how they’re faring in this time of COVID-19.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving issue in Minnesota, Twin Cities PBS is producing a weekly show, Coronavirus: An Almanac Special, where we share practical information from trusted medical sources so all Minnesotans know the steps to prepare for the coronavirus.

We also have a list of resources from trusted organizations such as the Minnesota Department of Health, the CDC and the WHO, along with articles from our friends at Next Avenue and PBS Kids. You’ll also find multilingual versions of Coronavirus: An Almanac Special in SomaliHmong and Spanish.