Pregnancy and the pandemic

Porsha Green and Nate Murrill at their gender reveal in Essex August 1, 2020. (Photo credit/Aaron Johnson)

By Steven Reynolds
Special to the AFRO

With Maryland COVID-19 cases spiking, expectant parents are being more cautious than ever. Porsha Green, 25, from Towson understands this more than others as she found herself in a battle with COVID-19 while also being six months pregnant.

This summer she was hospitalized after contracting the virus, a week before her gender reveal event. She was alone for nearly a week because hospital safety rules prevented any visitors.

“It definitely breeds paranoia. It makes you second-guess everything. Could this be cleaner? Did I wash my hands enough? Am I taking care of myself enough? Did I wash my hands long enough? Should I wash my hands and then use sanitizer?” said Green.  

She has fully recovered now and doctors say the baby is fine. Still, she said the experience has made her more cautious than ever. 

Green wasn’t the only one concerned. Her partner, Nathaniel Murrill, 26, also from Towson had his own bout with COVID-19 this year. But he said at the time he could not worry about himself. He said the only things he could think about were Green and their unborn child. 

“It was very devastating and scary,” Murrill said.

Green said she was already stressed, struggling to adjust and navigate around the pandemic, like figuring out the safest way to travel back and forth to medical appointments.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.  Data show to date there have been 38,071 total cases of pregnant women with COVID-19 since January 2020.

Doctors say expectant parents do have to be careful. When getting ready to welcome a baby to the world, the whole family tends to want to be part of the process. However, health professionals say in-person showers and gender reveals pose unnecessary risks.

“Virtual events work better. This is important because you are limiting your exposure,” said Dr. Lynne Lightfoote, of Foxhall OB/GYN Associates. “Drive-bys are relatively safe if you’re sitting in your lawn chair on your front porch and people are driving by and not getting out of their cars. People like to hug pregnant women and with our families, we like to be close. This is how groups of families are getting COVID.”

Green and Murrill said they have to give more thought to how to have a baby shower safely or even if they should have one at all. In the meantime, they are continuing to stay positive knowing being responsible for a new life is their silver lining in an otherwise gloomy year.  

Steven Reynolds is a Strategic Communication major in the School of Global Journalism & Communication at Morgan State University.