Increasing Prenatal Telehealth care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Prenatal care is extremely important to monitor both the baby and the mother’s health. According to US Department of Health and Human Services, if a mother does not have prenatal care, the infant is three times more likely to have low birth weight, and five times more likely to die when compared to those who had mothers who received prenatal care.  

 

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 brought changes in prenatal care. Prenatal care visits are frequent, and because of the risks of COVID-19 being transmitted through close contact, there needed to be a way for pregnant women to get the necessary care while limiting potential exposure to the virus. "Not only was there a need to reassess the frequency and timing of prenatal appointments and ultrasounds for both low- and high-risk patients, but also the need to reconsider how and where patients were seen, to adjust screening and diagnostic testing modalities, and to reconsider thresholds at which fetal therapy was offered." (Aziz et al, 2020)

 

Aziz and colleagues noted that prenatal care will most likely be changed going forward even as the COVID-19 risk subsides. In their article, they outline the recommended timeline they used at Columbia University Irving Medical Center at the height of the virus for both in-person and telehealth care throughout the 40 weeks of pregnancy. Changes such as a telehealth consultation if the patient is believed to be under 13 weeks pregnant and combining dating ultrasound with nuchal translucency assessment to name a few. They estimate that in low-risk patients, a telehealth combined approach can cut in-office visits in half.  

 

Ultimately, lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic may result in permanent changes to the provision of prenatal care in the United States and hopefully, and most importantly, help us when we face another global health crisis in the future." (Aziz et al, 2020)

 

If you have questions about your prenatal care or childbirth, contact our Memphis law office today at 888-443-4387 

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