Pregnant women use virtual visits with doctors during pandemic

At 21 weeks pregnant, Melissa D'oyley is following federal recommendations by stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This may be her third pregnancy, but it's the first where she's trying telemedicine for her O-B visits.

"My only concern was if the visits would be as thorough, but he's serious," D'oyley said. "I'm speaking about a provider that's fantastic."

D'oyley and her husband balance raising two children with busy work schedules, so she said convenience and the comfort of being in your own home were the biggest selling points.

"It was super easy, and I was in my bathrobe and I had my coffee," D'oyley said. "I don't feel any major differences. I think technology has just been pretty fantastic."

Dr. Stewart Mason approached her about telemedicine weeks prior to the coronavirus outbreak as something he planned to roll out because of its success.

"A phone call is one thing, but actually looking your patient in the eye, looking your doctor in the eye, still keeps that context, still keeps that believability," Dr. Mason said. "That trust is maintained."

Now telemedicine is aiding in limiting the number of people in and out of the practice, reducing the potential to exposure to COVID-19.

More moms are hopping on board.

"It lets people be more efficient with their time and still brings them quality care that they'd get when they come into the office," Dr. Mason said.

The benefits go beyond convenience and social distancing.

"This is changing how women can access their doctors and providers," says Dr. Adanna Ikedilo.

Expectant mothers take home a doppler that monitors the fetal heart rate and cuffs that take mom's blood pressure.

Dr. Ikedilo says it empowers patients to advocate for themselves and their child.

"They're able to listen to their baby when they have concern about movements and have that control to know that they're baby is okay," Dr. Ikedilo said.

Providers can be reached through email and text messages outside of their scheduled televisits, making response times faster.

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