ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Expectant mothers are among the group of people considered to be vulnerable to the coronavirus because their immune system is compromised while they’re pregnant.

That’s part of the reason moms-to-be across the country are seeing a big change in the doctor’s office and in the delivery room. 

Tampa Bay-area expectant mothers Lisa Wolf-Chason and her sister, Andrea Rodriguez, will deliver their babies a few months apart. The sisters said they recently found out Wolf-Chason won’t be able to visit her sister when she gives birth next month.

“I think for me, the one that’s been the hardest to kind of be OK with was the lack of visitors in the hospital,” Rodriguez said. 

She can’t have any visitors in the hospital, and for some people, only one support person will be allowed in the delivery room. For Wolf-Chason’s doctor’s appointments, no spouses are allowed.

“My biggest concern is I’m of an age where I am considered high risk because I’m older, and my greatest fear is that at one of my upcoming appointments, they will tell me something is wrong with my child and I’m going to have to deal with that alone because my husband’s not with me,” Wolf-Chason said.

Dr. Katherine Apostolakis-Kyrus, an OB-GYN with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, relayed some of the concerns for expectant mothers during this pandemic.

“Many hospitals are only allowing one support person in, and so they may have to be limited on supplies. So every person that comes in, if he or she requires a mask, it’s one more mask that we’re giving out,” Apostolakis-Kyrus said.

She also talked about any expectant mothers considering home births because they’re concerned about giving birth in hospitals right now. She says hospitals are still the safest place to deliver a baby right now.

“Hospitals are doing a wonderful job right now keeping COVID-19 patients in a special unit, keeping them in a negative pressure room, so the same air isn’t circulating to the pregnant patients,” she said. 

Apostolakis-Kyrus also said expectant mothers carry the best protection for their babies against the virus: breast milk. She said women should breastfeed to pass to their babies vital antibodies found in breast milk.

As for Lamaze classes and other birthing classes that have been canceled due to COVID-19, Apostolakis-Kyrus said expectant parents should ask their doctor about possible online resources like videos and expectant mom online groups.