The coronavirus pandemic has upended fertility treatments, prenatal care, inpatient obstetric services, and the care of newborns and young children. In an Ovia Health national survey, 30% of prenatal and postpartum visits were either cancelled or conducted by telehealth visit.
There's been a 215% increase in women planning home births as were before the pandemic, and hospitals’ labor and delivery suites — traditionally welcoming and happy places to deliver — have become locked units. Women fear for their safety and for the safety of their newborns and visitors are unwelcome due to concerns about virus transmission. Nationally, well-child visits are being canceled, postponed, or modified and childhood vaccination rates are plummeting. 50% of Ovia respondents say their well-child visits were affected by the pandemic. Fertility treatments — considered elective services — are only beginning to resume.
Fortunately, women of childbearing age, including pregnant women, do not appear to be at increased risk for severe coronavirus disease, and children seem to be at particularly low risk. These demographics do, however, appear to be at risk for asymptomatic infection, meaning that they can infect others without falling ill themselves. There is a high level of concern regarding the risk to healthcare workers and vulnerable patients in the vicinity of those with an asymptomatic infection, resulting in visitor restrictions and less comfortable healthcare experiences.
With a vaccine likely 12-18 months away, we anticipate that these changes in care will remain in place for the coming months, with limited return toward normal in areas that have been less impacted by the pandemic or that have seen significant reductions in infection rates.
The bottom line is that access to healthcare services will be altered, and in many cases, limited, for the coming months, and fear of the healthcare system will remain pervasive.
Download this free whitepaper to learn:
- What you should know about perinatal mental health
- The impact on women and families
- How mental health affects the workplace
- How digital platforms are changing the perinatal mental health landscape
- What employers and health plans can do today to make a difference
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For more information on Ovia Health's solution for health plans, click here.