The pandemic has been a stressful period for everyone. But for expectant mothers, the pandemic has dramatically increased disparities and inequalities, increasing stress levels dramatically. According to research, stress can have devastating effects on the pregnancy experience and the baby. Pregnant women face a lot of challenges that can expose them to risks of certain complications.
Indeed, it is fair to say that women can experience stress for many reasons during pregnancy. The fears of pregnancy loss, labor, and taking care of the baby can be debilitating. Additionally, financial uncertainty, professional worries, and the risks of losing your job after maternity leave can also add new reasons to be stressed. Finally, the female body goes through a lot of changes and pressures during the pregnancy, from physical discomfort to hormonal imbalances. Needless to say, women who are experiencing pregnancy for the first time can feel nervous about the overwhelming transformation. In other words, stress is an integral part of the pregnancy journey. However, exposure to abnormally high-stress levels, such as exposure to discrimination or big life changes, can set the body in a fight or flight mode. Doctors are unable to protect their patients from stress factors. However, we are at a technological and organizational level, where healthcare centers can provide support to pregnant women. Here are some thoughts on bringing the healthcare sector to the next level and alleviating serious stressors during pregnancy.
Offering a reliable service system
For women, the first pregnancy is a completely new experience. Many ar ensure of what should be normal and what isn’t. Therefore, it is uncommon for nervous patients to reach out to their local healthcare for support. Therefore, as a healthcare business, the priority is to provide exceptional care to all patients. For pregnant patients, more often than not, discomfort and sudden changes in the body can be explained medically. It often takes only a phone call to clear out doubts and relax. Unfortunately, women can find it challenging to schedule their needs to fit the typical office hours of their doctors. Therefore, it’s time for healthcare centers to invest in reliable IT solutions that can facilitate access to medical data rapidly and safely. Healthcare businesses can keep a 24/7 phone line for patients who need guidance and reassurance. The data access needs to be restricted to authorize only relevant members of the staff, protecting the patient’s confidentiality while addressing their queries.
Introducing a pregnancy and motherhood community
Pregnancy is an emotional journey that can dramatically affect an individual’s mental health if they are not supported through the challenges. Physical and emotional challenges pave the way due to natural transformation and hormonal swings in the body. Additionally, pregnant women can face a lot of unwanted attention in their everyday lives, making their pregnancy a lonely and painful journey. The creation of a community where pregnant women, experienced mothers, and new mothers can get together could be a game-changing experience. In social communities can inspire positive, healthy changes. In a community that understands the importance of a healthy body, pregnant women could find positive encouragement to get fit or quit bad habits. Additionally, medical experts can also intervene on the social community forum to provide in-depth answers or guidelines for expectant parents.
Address the individual well-being
Many pregnant women find it hard to look after themselves. They juggle social and physical challenges during the pregnancy, which can contribute to forgetting self-care routines. Ultimately, many women prepare for an uncomfortable experience, unaware that there’s a lot they can do to make pregnancy more enjoyable. For instance, hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect skin health. However, this isn’t to say that there’s no way of managing dry skin during pregnancy or treating acne outbreaks. On the contrary, understanding how sensitive the skin becomes can help women choose the appropriate care methods.
Similar conditions can affect the hair and nails, which can lead to self-confidence and stress in women. Medical appointments during the pregnancy tend to focus on the fetus’s health and the mother’s physical health. However, it is time to consider the impact pregnancy has on women and how it changes their self-esteem.
Target ethnic minorities
Not all women have the same pregnancy experience. Your initial health condition and fitness levels will affect how the body goes through the process. Additionally, lifestyles play a huge role in the evolution of pregnancy. Yet, some disparities are out of the control of women. According to research, Black minorities are more likely to experience pregnancy loss. The frequently quoted risks include obesity, low socioeconomic status, and diabetes. However, it makes no doubt that these risk factors are increased by systematic inequality in the healthcare system and racial discrimination. So what can doctors do to improve their pregnancy chances?
With ethnic minorities, the focus needs to be on inclusive healthcare access. Ensuring that minorities can feel safe and welcome when they visit your healthcare center will make a huge difference. People need to be treated with compassion and understanding of their underlying challenges. Providing manageable and applicable guidance to address health conditions could significantly improve the pregnancy experience. Bringing diversity among the staff will also positively affect high-risk minorities. It makes no doubt that a Black or an Asian woman can feel more comfortable with someone who shares her cultural background and understands the unique challenges she faces.
Offer psychological & emotional support
The bundle of joy often comes with a bundle of anxiety. A woman surrounded by a supportive family is more likely to go through pregnancy feeling strong and positive. However, more often than not, we meet partners who are unsure of what they can do to support their pregnant wife or girlfriend. A partner can attend medical and childbirth classes appointments, helping women feeling reassured and supported. Simple everyday gestures such as holding hands or making healthy dietary choices with her can be an excellent way of showing support.
Additionally, healthcare centers can also encourage pregnant women to meet with a coach who can help tackle negative emotions. Solo pregnancies can be difficult. But a supportive coach can be on call to help single expectant mothers make the right decisions and find anxiety relief.
Streamline high-risk pregnancy support
Some women have a high-risk pregnancy as a result of their age, underlying health conditions, or even a history of miscarriages. Providing high-risk patients with a dedicated care system can significantly reduce pregnancy loss. A specialist team can oversee risk patients, providing rapid and practical emergency response. From sending an ambulance to keeping a doctor on call, high-risk patients can benefit from tailored solutions that can support them through pregnancy. Creating a plan with the future mothers to let them know when to get in touch and how to minimize risks can transform the experience for the better. Why not set up an app for the healthcare center where pregnant women share their details. In case of an emergency, doctors can rapidly access and share the data via the app, even if they have never met the patient.
Offer anti-discrimination & family talks
As mentioned, many pregnant women face discrimination and abuse. Establishing a small community support center within the hospital to capture their experiences can become a source of support. The healthcare company can alert the relevant authorities and associations on behalf of the pregnant woman. Many can find it difficult to talk about their problems or find someone who listens. But when a doctor talks to the authorities to report a case of domestic violence or racial discrimination, it can reassure women that someone is protecting their rights.
Even if the complaint never becomes official, it can help women to move on from a difficult situation. With countless associations and communities dedicated to providing advice and help, it could be the opportunity to build valuable and live-changing partnerships that benefit pregnant patients.
A birth gift for all
Northern European countries have a maternity package that every pregnant woman receives. The package contains several clothing items for the baby including winterproof clothes, sleeping gear including a mattress, personal care items, feeding tools, a cuddly toy, nappies, and a baby first steps book. The package ensures that women have adequate postnatal care for their babies. It would be a fantastic opportunity to offer a similar package for all expectant mothers to tackle social inequalities. As of now, funding for a care package is not available at the healthcare company’s level. However, countries such as Norway and Finland have made the package part of the governmental support for all families in the country. It’s high time for medical specialists to open the debate about public health support packages and similar options.
There is still a long way to go to make pregnancy as safe and stress-free as possible for all women. The healthcare system needs to level up and address the needs of future mothers. Will the healthcare of the future be able to deliver safety, emotional support, and streamlined high-risk services? It is impossible to tell. Yet, the best way to make the dream come true is to start today. Tackling ethnic minorities’ risks and women’s well-being, for instance, are issues that we can already address.