For many first-time parents, pregnancy can be a time full of nerves and anticipation and joy. But for those who conceived and gave birth within the last year, new parents were subjected to some new and unexpected concerns.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it brought with it many questions — how it was spread, who would be affected the most and how dangerous it could be. So what can parents expect when they’re expecting during a pandemic? 

While pregnant people aren’t more likely to become infected, they are considered high-risk because the effects of the illness could be more severe.

Jaymes Bowman and Alana McDowell found out they were pregnant with their first child just before the spread of COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Alana ended up giving birth to Penelope a few weeks before the mandatory mask mandate came into effect. 

Plans that usually surround a pregnancy — like a baby shower and prenatal classes — became virtual or socially distanced.

Dr. Shiraz Moola is an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson. He said that his midwife colleagues have had more parents contact them about home deliveries since the pandemic began. 

He said we’ll find out in around nine months if there will be a pandemic baby boom. 

Dr. Moola has also been working in tele-medicine for more than a decade. He said that a silver lining of the pandemic has been the surge in using video conferencing and phone appointments, and people being more comfortable using that technology for medical purposes. Patients have been able to stay home and still consult their physicians. It’s a movement that Dr. Moola said he hopes to see continue after the pandemic.