Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the health care landscape and shifted individuals’ expectations for and interactions with essential health services, including pregnancy-related care. This study explores alterations to individuals’ pregnancy and childbirth decisions during an infectious disease pandemic. A convenience sample of 380 pregnant individuals with an expected delivery date between April and December 2020 consented to enroll and complete an online questionnaire on their pregnancy and childbirth expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic; a subset of respondents (n = 18) participated in semi-structured phone interviews. Survey data were analyzed quantitatively while interview data were analyzed using a thematic content analysis until a consensus on key themes was achieved. Respondents reported substantial stressors related to shifting policies of health care facilities and rapidly changing information about COVID-19 disease risks. As a result, respondents considered modifying their prenatal and childbirth plans, including the location of their birth (25%), health care provider (19%), and delivery mode (13%). These findings illuminate the concerns and choices pregnant individuals face during the COVID-19 pandemic and offer recommendations to engage in compassionate, supportive, and person-centered care during a time of unprecedented risk and uncertainty.


This article was originally published Open Access in Journal of Patient Experience. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


Journal of Patient Experience

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


© The Author(s) 2021