Why read: These are essential tips to know if you’re pregnant during pandemic. Learn how to protect yourself from COVID-19, stay sane and have a virtual baby shower.
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While the health care system in the US – and across the globe – gets more and more overburdened every day, things become especially uneasy for expectant mothers.
Ob/gyns are switching to virtual appointments. Hospitals and labs are overcrowded with sick patents making going in for regular lab tests and checkouts extremely difficult. Hospitals are allowing only one support person during and after the delivery, no visitors or leaving the room.
With this reality in sight, I try hard to stay calm. The thought “this is probably the worst time to have a baby”, however, keeps creeping into my head. I’m due in June, so I really hope things will get better by then. But I feel so much for all those girls who are giving birth now.
There are so many questions about the virus and pregnancy that no one really knows the answers to.
So I put together some useful information and tips to help you cope with this difficult time of being pregnant during pandemic.
Protect yourself from COVID-19
The studies about how the virus affects pregnant women are pretty much non-existent, except for tiny samples of women in China. According to CDC, it’s not clear at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth. Or if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery.
While CDC claims “no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive,” U.K. news reports indicate at least one newborn has tested positive (it’s not clear though whether the baby was born with the virus or got it after birth).
In short, because we know so little about the adversary effects of COVID-19 on pregnant women, the most important thing you and I should do now is direct all our energy to minimize our chances of getting the virus. Here are some tips:
- Stay away from everyone and everything as much as possible. If not already, isolate yourself at home with only people you see being your household members. No visitors whatsoever! If you have kids, they need to isolate with you from the outside world as well. No visits to grandparents, relatives, friends. You’re allowed to be paranoid now.
- Reduce trips to grocery shops to a minimum. By now you probably have your fridge and pantry stocked up. Preferably have someone else do the grocery shopping. If that’s your husband (like in my case), he should follow all recommended precautions – wearing gloves, staying 6 ft away from other people, buying food for at least a week. Make sure you disinfect all packaged food before touching and placing it into the refrigerator. Disinfect all doorknobs and wash hands for at least 20 seconds as soon as you’re back from any store.
- Disinfect all delivery packages (food or Amazon boxes). Many of us rely even more on Amazon, Instacart and other services for food and other deliveries. It’s extremely important to disinfect everything that’s being delivered. First, wear gloves when opening the packages (the virus is said to live on surfaces for up to 3 days). Try not to bring packages inside – leave outside, in the garage or just discard right away. Leave all non-food items that you don’t urgently need for 2-3 days untouched, or disinfect everything with Clorox wipes or Lysol spray.
- Watch this video for more tips on SAFE GROCERY SHOPPING.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables with fruit and vegetable wash.
- Eat healthy and boost your immune system. Check out these natural tips on how to boost your immunity during the flu and cold season. I’ve written this with kids in mind so can easily apply to pregnant women. Avoid taking any supplements or medication without your doctor’s approval.
What to Do if You Develop COVID-19 Symptoms
- If you take all the precautions and still develop COVID-19 symptoms – don’t panic! Chances are you just have a regular cold.
- Start documenting your symptoms as soon as you feel even slightly sick. Symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection are fever, cough, shortness of breath. But even if you have one of the symptoms and not the others still document how you feel.
- Avoid taking any medication, especially ibuprofen! There’s still no enough evidence but initial studies have shown that ibuprofen could make COVID-19 worse.
- Don’t go to any testing facility or hospital without contacting your primary care first. With a limited supply of testing kits, you might not be able to get tested anyway. You’ll just have unnecessary exposure to the crowds of sick people and add to your own frustration.
- Instead, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Ask for a video call if possible. With the current outbreak situation, many healthcare providers offer this service. Discuss the exact details of everything you documented about your symptoms with your doctor.
- Your health care provider will determine the need for testing.
- If your doctor finds that testing is in fact needed, you’ll be referred to a testing clinic.
- Check with your doctor what you need to know and how to stay safe when visiting a testing clinic.
- Get recommendations from your doctor if you could take any medications while you wait for the test results.
- Get tested and wait for the results.
Talk to your ob/gyn
- Depending on when your due date is, you need to be in contact with your ob/gyn to see how things will proceed with your regular appointments, lab tests, and delivery. As of now, some hospitals are not allowing anyone in the delivery room – not even the partner. But this varies from hospital to hospital. Plus, things change every day. A week ago my ob/gyn told me that I’d have to go to the hospital alone so that I could prepare. But today she called me to confirm that the hospital has changed its policies on this, and now 1 support person is allowed. I know you might feel defeated as maybe you wanted your mom to be there too. Or your older child to visit the next day to meet their baby brother or sister. This is so devastating for all the girls who are having their babies these days or are about to have. But there’s nothing you can do. So the best thing is to be in the know of what to expect. That way you’ll have time to mentally prepare for whatever you need to expect for one of the most important times of your life. So call the hospital before going in for the labor to know their policies on this. If you’re due at a later date, it is still important to talk to your ob/gyn to see what’s your plan and what to expect in the worst-case scenario.
- If you’ve booked a photographer for your delivery day, obviously you need to cancel this as well. Think of ways how you can still have some pictures of yourself and your baby during those first precious moments if you’ll have no one with you. Talk to your ob/gyn to see if one of the nurses could take some pictures for you.
Maintain Your Sanity
With everything going on now, it’s normal to feel confused, lonely, anxious, scared and even bored. Staying in isolation, our emotional well-being is being challenged every day. But the thing is that physical distancing doesn’t have to mean complete isolation from the world. So what can you do to stay sane without your normal routine?
- Concentrate on things that are in your control – wash hands, sanitize, social distance, clean your house, read pregnancy books.
- Stop worrying about things outside of your control – Do you really NEED to know death numbers in Italy? Do you really NEED to click every news headline about the virus? If this increases your fear and worry, read only what’s helpful to you. Choose one reliable source to get updates and stick to it.
- Limit time on the Internet and Social Media. Unfollow or mute all accounts that spread misinformation and panic.
- Watch some funny and positive shows instead. Follow bloggers who share funny memes and posts full of helpful information. You might as well check and like my Facebook page and follow me on Pinterest for practical tips and support. And share helpful articles and posts – like this one 😉 – on social media (most of this information is helpful for everyone not only pregnant women!).
- Go outside, take a walk keeping your distance from others, of course. Spring is in its full bloom, so enjoy the beauty around you. Breathe, breathe, breathe.
- Meditate, listen to calm music, do some prenatal yoga at home.
- Don’t completely isolate yourself from relatives and friends. This is the best time to catch up with friends you haven’t talked to for a while. Check on them. See if everyone’s doing OK. Face chat with your parents and relatives. Talk about something other than Coronavirus!
- Eat healthy and get good sleep while you still can. When the baby arrives, you’ll wish you slept more when you had the chance.
- Stay positive and grateful for what you have – your health, home, food, family. Pray!
- And remember this too shall pass!
Have a virtual baby shower
- If you’re one of those girls who’s been devastated because of a canceled baby shower, you’re not alone. This has been one of the biggest frustrations for pregnant girls whose baby showers were scheduled around this time. But again, with the help of your friends and relatives who’ve been planning your baby shower in the first place, you can quickly change the format and still have the shower you deserve, albeit in a slightly different format.
- I’ve come across this idea circulating on Facebook and love it. Have your baby shower’s organizers email/mail out an invite letting your friends and family know that due to circumstances you’ll celebrate virtually over the next few weeks/months in a Facebook group. In the group, you can play themed games, get advice about motherhood, etc. Just like a baby shower. You can organize a diaper raffle through your Amazon registry. And ask everyone to send you books instead of cards. Have your registry listed on the invite that’s emailed/mailed out and on the Facebook group. Then after your baby is born and things (fingers crossed) are back to normal you can have a meet and greet with everyone.
- I know you must be really bummed you can’t celebrate in person. But still, you can use this creative way to put together a baby shower the best you can through technology.
One Last Thing
This is certainly a very difficult time for all expectant moms.
You’re not alone in this! This is the time to be strong for your baby, adapt to the situation as much as possible, do your research about all the unknown and prepare, prepare, prepare.
How About You
Do you have any other tips for being pregnant during pandemic? Please share with us in the comments.
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