"Our babies came to work for you! Stay home for them!"
Nursing departments are known to have baby booms, and right now four emergency room nurses at UNC REX Healthcare in Raleigh, NC are all pregnant at the same time.
Of course, it is very hard to be a pregnant person right now as the nation and the world battle coronavirus, and as nurses, these four brave mamas are on the front lines every day.
That's why they took this now-viral photo, showing off their bumps while displaying an important message:
"Our babies came to work for you! Stay home for them!" read the signs they're holding.
Courtney Ames Hart, one of the nurses, posted the photo to her Facebook page, adding this caption: "Not only do we come to work during his pandemic, but so do our unborn babies! Please take ALL of us into account before you decide to leave your house!"
"I'd just like people to know that it's not just us that are pregnant that are risking our health, but all of us in healthcare, from the EVS workers and our intakes to the techs, nurses, respiratory therapists and doctors," Hart tells Motherly.
She continues: "We are really grateful for all the support we are receiving from the public and I can only hope this sheds a brighter light on the field of nursing and the influence we have in the healthcare industry. This is my third pregnancy as an ER nurse, but this is definitely different from the other pregnancies in that I'm more cautious than ever to protect myself and my little as well as my family I come home to after every shift."
According to the CDC, pregnant people are considered an at-risk population for COVID-19, but many pregnant healthcare providers are still working.
The CDC states: "We do not have information from published scientific reports about susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. Pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes which might make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19."
"It is definitely a concerning time, even for us healthcare workers, because of all the unknowns that come along with COVID-19," Hart told WRAL News. "But we are trying to take it day-by-day and we are trying to stay as prepared as we can."
She says the four nurses in the photo are supporting each other every day, and they are hardly alone in this.
As ProPublica reports, "the American health care workforce is overwhelmingly female—about 90% of nurses and home health aides are women—and at any given time, an unknown number of them, likely in the thousands, are pregnant."
And as CNBC points out, "across the world, the official guidance from public health officials varies widely about whether pregnant health workers should be in the presence of patients as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads."
Right now, it's up to each hospital to determine how it will protect pregnant workers. According to Hart, managers at UNC REX are doing their best to keep her and the other three pregnant nurses as safe as possible.
The public can do their part, too, by staying home to prevent the spread of the disease. Flattening the curve isn't just good for the health of pregnant members of the public, but for the pregnant people who are working to keep the rest of us safe every day.