I'm currently eight months pregnant and I feel like I'm in one of those end of the world movies where I'm carrying the baby with the cure for humanity. Okay, maybe that's a stretch but I can say that I feel weird. All I see is updates about the spread of the virus, people being quarantined, and people losing their lives. Day in and day out. I'm a mother of three beautiful girls who have been taken out of school. Their routines and lives have changed dramatically. On top of that I am due in eight weeks.
I work in the healthcare field and I've been concerned. What if I contract the virus? How will that affect me, my unborn child, and my family. Things are constantly changing every day, it seems minute by minute. So what are some important things that pregnant women need to know during this thing called a Pandemic?
1. Will My Prenatal Visits Change? I feel like I've bugged the H-E double hockey sticks out of my midwife since all of this has started. Although I've been assured that I am not a bother I can't help but feel like I am. At my last visit I was stopped before I even went in the door. There was a table set up with some papers, a thermometer, and hand sanitizer. I was screened and asked questions about my health such as, if I've had any fever, cough, shortness of breath, you know, those COVID-19 questions. Luckily, I was able to answer them with a confident no. I do know that a lot of health care providers are opting to use the telemedicine route to help reduce the spread. Providers are also allowing some patients to do at home monitoring of things like their blood pressure and contractions. Check with your provider to see if there are any changes to your visits.
2. Are pregnant women at more risk? Although there is nothing (right now) that says pregnant women are more likely to contract the virus, pregnant women do need to be cautious. Pregnancy does cause the immune system to be immunocompromised or suppressed which can lead to more infections or illnesses such as the Flu. Try boosting your immune system by taking probiotics, getting enough rest, and staying hydrated. Please don't hesitate to reach out to your provider if you think you've been exposed!
3. What will delivery be like? Every hospital has different rules in place to do what they can to lower the risk of transmission. Some hospitals are making sure they check all staff before even entering the building for symptoms such as fever. Also, some hospitals are restricting all visitors and others are allowing only one. This is sending a lot of women into straight panic mode! Who thought that they would have to deliver their baby without the support of those they need the most? However with all that is going on, hospitals are opting to be more safe than sorry. Another thing is, your discharge from the hospital may be earlier as well. Around 12 to 24 hours, rather than 24 to 48 hours. As long as there were no complications . For women that have had a c-section discharge can be two days instead of three or more. If you are having a home birth this may look different. Speak with your midwife about what precautions are needed during this time.
4. Is breastfeeding still safe? Breastfeeding is still recommended. So far, nothing has been found that determines the virus can be transferred. Breastfeeding your baby can possibly be a source of antibody protection for your little one. If you have to be separated from your baby because of the virus, it will probably be encouraged to pump just so you can keep up a good supply of milk for your baby.
5. Dealing with anxiety during COVID-19. Remember to focus on the things you can control. It's so easy to get caught up in the constant media reports and everything going on with the government. You can control this to a certain extent. You can take a break from social media and the media. We are all well aware of what it going on so unplug for a while. Do the things you enjoy doing. Even while social distancing. Watch something funny, try a new craft or recipe, talk to those you enjoy talking to. Or just simply take some quite time to regroup. I've found that music has been VERY helpful me. It's always been therapy. Helping the girls with their school work and trying to figure out ways to make it fun. Also, playing board games are great. Find something that helps you and get to it. From the looks of things this is going to be around for some time, we have to invent ways to get through this! If at any time things are becoming too overwhelming reach out for help! Don't be ashamed or fearful about this. Our lives as we know it are changing and that can bring on a lot!
Until next time, sending you peace love and light!
Certified Health Coach (Pregnancy and Postpartum Support)