West Monroe Family Nurse Practitioner talks caring for pregnant women during COVID-19

WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) – Family Nurse Practitioner Crystal Sanches said they’ve changed how they’ve been working with pregnant women amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanches, with the Louisiana Center for Women’s Health in West Monroe, said they tried using telemedicine when possible when the pandemic started. However, she said there are some tests they need to do for pregnant women that require them to visit the office.

“But obviously, with pregnant women, I can’t check their blood pressure when they’re at home. You know, they can have their own blood pressure monitor, not always accurate. They can’t listen to the baby’s heartbeat when they’re at home,” she said.

Sanches said they’re screening patients for COVID symptoms before they enter the building. She said they usually only let the patient in for safety purposes. However, for something like an ultrasound, they’ll let a family member in as well after they’re also screened.

“We’ve made some exceptions, you know, when it is time for that ultrasound, because it’s such an exciting time. And it’s so fearful right now, so we’re trying to let it be as normal as possible.”

Sanches said they haven’t noticed a change in pregnancy rates since the pandemic began, but they wonder what those rates my look like down the road.

“You know, we’ve kinda joked about it, wondering, you know, if people are spending more time alone, if we’re going to have that boom in nine or ten months of new babies. But then there’s a lot of fear. You know, a lot of people are out of work. You don’t if know is a great time to add another baby to the household. So, you know, it could go either way,” she said.

Sanches said she’s noticed more anxiety in her patients lately. She said journaling, having some quiet time, or taking a walk can help. However, if someone needs further help managing anxieties, she said they should talk to their provider.

“Being pregnant brings anxiety in itself, but then you bring a pandemic along, and, you know, it’s something none of us have ever experienced in our lifetime.”

Sanches said a patient shouldn’t be worried about visiting the office during the pandemic, as they’re following CDC guidelines, and doing everything they can to keep their patients safe.

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