Maternity Care, Interrupted

Maternity Care, Interrupted

As the COVID-19 pandemic largely shut down in-person non-urgent care, maternity healthcare providers quickly adopted telehealth technologies to provide prenatal and postpartum services remotely, a report from the Commonwealth Fund finds. According to Maternity Care, Interrupted, while only 0.1 percent of all maternity care "visits" in the United States were virtual before the public health emergency, pilot projects had already shown that expecting mothers given training to use fetal dopplers, blood pressure monitors, and scales were just as satisfied with virtual visits as with in-person visits. Wider adoption of telehealth tools, the report finds, can expand access to and oversight of maternal and neonatal medicine — including mental health counseling, which has seen a surge in demand from pregnant women during the pandemic — given that fewer than half of rural counties have a practicing obstetrician or gynecologist and even fewer have maternal–fetal medicine specialists or mental health counselors, and that rural women have a higher rate of severe maternal morbidity and mortality. The report also found that hospitals are using telemedicine tools to monitor new mothers after discharge for COVID-19 symptoms and postpartum risk factors such as blood pressure, as well as to provide access to social services. 

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