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Marta Kolthoff, MD: Dealing with a Loss in Pregnancy

Strategic Alliance Partnership | <b>Allegheny Health Network</b>

Palliative care programs were challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being pregnant is stressful as is, but when you throw in a global pandemic it can be especially challenging.

And losing a child during pregnancy is a risk at all times, but the pandemic may have decreased the number of prenatal screenings and appointments for women around the world.

However, at Allegheny Health Network, a program called Olivia’s Angels is in place to provide palliative care for parents after losing a child during the birthing process or learning their child may have a life-long condition.

The program has several components to it, including honoring cultural and religious traditions, presenting the patients with keepsakes such as prenatal images after each appointment, and grief counselors and bereavement specialists.

The program is named after Susan and Dan Bevevino’s daughter Olivia, who died just a few short hours following birth.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Marta Kolthoff, MA, MD, Director of Olivia’s Angels, explained how the program operates and why it has been challenging in the age of COVID-19.

“Like everything else it’s been a struggle,” Kolthoff said.

The biggest adjustment has been the number of guests and family members that are available during the pregnancy.

One of the aims of the program is to ultimately reduce as much trauma as possible.

“It becomes one trauma after another,” she said. “And they are suffering so much.”