BOCA RATON, Fla. — Pregnant and practicing medicine. It's impressive under normal circumstances, but now that's even more true during a pandemic.
"It’s definitely an interesting experience," said Dr. Sharise Richardson, who is 31 weeks pregnant. "I am not immune to some of the stresses and anxieties that moms are thinking of right now."
Richardson is a doctor on staff at West Boca Medical Center, seeing patients and delivering babies.
"My medical training does give me a little more perspective, and that allows me to be able to work and not feel too anxious," she said.
Richardson said she's no stranger to being pregnant in difficult times. Her first baby was born during the Zika outbreak. She's now taking extra steps to to honor her commitment to her patients, while keeping her family safe.
"I come home and take what my husband calls my decontamination bat," she said. "Leave my clothes outside, shoes outside."
Richardson said the questions from pregnant women are plentiful right now.
"First and foremost, I tell my moms to take a deep breath, right," she said. "You are in good hands."
Richardson said the number one feeling she gets from patients is anxiety and fear of the unknown. Some of that, she believes, stems from anxiety about whether or not a support person will be allowed in the hospital with a laboring mother. So far, the answer is yes.
"Everyone in the room, including themselves will have a mask on. that makes them feel better," she said.
It's a feeling West Boca Medical Center acknowledges.
"People coming to us at a wonderful time and an anxious time," said George Rizzuto, the CEO at West Boca Medical Center. "Our hospital is safe and clean, but it has taken a lot of rigor in regard to protocols."
Richardson is sticking to the protocols to deliver babies as safely as possible and have her own newborn at the hospital weeks from now.
"For me, it’s just taking it day by day," she said. "I think that all we have is the day.".