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Couples prepare for childbirth during coronavirus pandemic

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KING COUNTY – Newborns are safely being delivered in hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic, and a local couple with a due date coming up in a matter of weeks said it is an odd time to be expecting.

“It feels like you’re in a movie sometimes because the [hospital] halls are pretty deserted and very clean,” said expecting mom Ash Mitchell.

“Worries and fears are there but with the added stress of having to quarantine, and worrying about loved ones and worrying about the hospital. It definitely adds a different level to this whole experience.”

In a Zoom video conference, Ash and her husband Chris told Q13 News they’re expecting a baby girl on April 28. She’ll be named Lorelei, and delivered at Evergreen Hospital.

“I’m allowed to be in the room still. They’re limiting now to just the mother and the partner,” said soon-to-be father Chris. “Just anything I can do to make sure our nest is protected.”

The Mitchells completed a childbirth and parenting class online with Prepare the Nest, which is based in Redmond.

“We’ve been living our lives remotely and so the fact that they offered that was really helpful,” said Ash.

The owner Nicole Shank said instructors are registered nurses, but their studio is not affiliated with a hospital. That means classes are run independently, and available to any expecting parent local and out-of-state.

“We provide childbirth education, newborn care and breastfeeding classes,” said Shanks. “We want to provide a sense of calm and confidence, and educate them so they can have the best birthing experience and have the tools ready to prepare for this newborn.”

According to health experts, there is little data behind COVID-19’s impact on women during pregnancy, childbirth and newborns.

Babies born to women with COVID-19 are being removed and isolated, except when breastfeeding which is still recommended with mothers wearing a mask.

“I think the best advice is listen to your doctor, listen to the CDC—what they are recommending, and it seems to me these expectant couples are heeding that advice and staying home and protecting themselves and protecting their unborn baby,” said Shanks.

The Mitchells are grateful to be in good health, and look forward to meeting their first child together in the delivery room.

“Our birthing plan has been to be open to whatever the doctors say is right to do,” said Ash.

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