Giving birth during a pandemic is scary and difficult. Starfish Family Services makes that easier

For expecting mothers, it wasn't just the hormonal changes and impulsive cravings that came with pregnancy this time of year. COVID-19 is disrupting the services that normally offer resources and advice to parents unsure and scared of what to do next.

Starfish Family Services was one such resource that saw its business model flipped on its head when social distancing guidelines went into effect. The nurse family partnership helps low-income women in Wayne County by having specially trained nurses visit with the women and their families from pregnancy until a child is 2 years old. 

While their services are more sought after than ever before, how Starfish is bringing that assistance has changed a lot.

"Telehealth as telephone services. We are currently making sure that we are also providing basic needs like diapers, food, we're trying to connect them with all of the resources and supplies that we can," said Chy Johnson, an infant mental health therapist.

What kind of tests are needed? How should babies be protected from the virus? Questions ranging from the normal pregnancy queries to situational ones posed during trying times like these are being asked by clients and answered by the nurses.

"One of the big focuses we have is making sure they know what the common tests of pregnancy are, so the blood draws they need, the urinalysis tests that they need, tests for diabetes, tests for anomalies in the fetus and we're helping to make sure they're still getting those tests," said Melissa Klein, a nurse practitioner. 

Klein points out the importance of keeping women on schedule with prenatal care but also clearing up misconceptions for when women are ready to give birth and care for their young children - while often feeling scared and alone.

"You still get prenatal care if you're pregnant, you should never put a mask on your baby. That's a big thing we're trying to make sure people understand - masks are for children 2 years and over. Under 2 years, you can cause suffocation in your baby and you still go to the hospital to deliver your baby," Klein said. "We're not trying to do any type of home delivery and the hospital is still there for you."

"It can be scary and we'll try to make sure you don't go there unnecessarily but it is still there for you," she added.

If you'd like to learn more, please contact Starfish Family Services at their website here or at their phone number at (833) 637-2229.