The pandemic has had a far-reaching, life-altering impact on the pregnancy plans of many women in Australia.
For everyone, coronavirus changed things; if not everything. For some women in their ‘baby-making years’, it brought about considerable concerns and unexpected turns. Like, how will a pandemic impact a pregnancy? Will partners be allowed in hospital rooms?
Will waiting to conceive carry risks? How will the economic uncertainty influence hopeful or expecting parents’ financial confidence?
Thousands of families in Australia, and more abroad, have been faced with these concerns.
According to research conducted by Mamamia and Elevit, anxiety around trying to get pregnant has increased. In fact, more than one in two women are feeling more worried than normal about trying for a baby or being pregnant.
One woman who knows this growing concern is 33-year-old Sophia, whose timeline hasn’t changed, but her angst has amplified.
“It’s made me more anxious,” 33-year-old Sophia tells Mamamia. “We have to undergo IVF to fall pregnant. We live across the border from our clinic so I’ve been terrified of having a cycle cancelled or postponed because I couldn’t travel to the clinic.
“Then there’s the risk of coming down with a cold or other coronavirus-like symptoms and not being allowed into the hospital for the embryo transfer. IVF is already hard enough without having to worry about all these extra complications.”
Another woman, Karen, also feels the frustration of the precarious relationship between IVF access and the restrictions of a pandemic.
“I am anxious as I am getting well into my forties so my chances of falling pregnant with my second child was already slim. Now, coronavirus has substantially decreased the possibility even further.”
This was a common sentiment shared by women undergoing IVF treatment, with one 33-year-old saying, “the pandemic has made being a person with infertility and fighting against the clock even more stressful”.
Listen: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy. Post continues below.
But the ‘biological clock’ was not the only reason causing anxiety.
One woman said the pandemic had “made [her] question what kind of world I am bringing children into”.
“The news can be scary and I want my child to have a healthy and safe future.”
For the most part, though, the external events of the world haven’t thrown women off their pregnancy plans. In fact, for many, the pandemic has acted as an ‘accelerator’.
Despite coronavirus and the financial downturn, research conducted by Mamamia and Elevit found that three in five women, with pre-pandemic pregnancy plans, say they are still trying to conceive. And for many women who didn’t have a plan, they now do.
“It brought my timeline forward,” Kia, a 30-year-old woman, shared with Mamamia. “I was still in the 'live life travel the world' mindset, and had a wishy washy timeline of when I wanted to start 'trying.' The pandemic forced my partner and I to actually sit down and plan our future. Now we have a date - February 2022 - as to when we will at least start trying.”