Giving birth is a stressful and trying time under the best of circumstances. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, pregnancy and giving birth can be downright terrifying.
This pandemic has been around long enough for many of us to understand its dangers. But we also how we can protect ourselves and minimize our risks.
Here’s a look at things you can do to stay healthy and prepare for birth during a pandemic.
The Same Advice Applies
You have probably heard some of these tips so often that they may have already become part of your daily routine:
- Wash your hands frequently, using soap and water, for at least twenty seconds.
- Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch areas of your house.
- Avoid touching your face.
Doctors are clear: The same advice applies to pregnant women. Certainly, you want to be as cautious as possible. This is especially crucial when leaving home and potentially exposing yourself to germs and others risks.
Review Your Birthing Plan with Your Doctor & Hospital
One of the most stressed institutions in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic has been healthcare. Across the nation, hospitals were deluged with sick people, infecting healthcare workers and patients alike. As a result, many elective procedures, standard check-ups, and routine screenings were put off. Some hospitals became designated for COVID patients only, while other hospitals became “COVID-free” locations.
Be sure to review your birthing plan with your OB-GYN and birthing facility. Is there anything you need to change? Are there any limitations on the things you can and cannot bring from home? What about support people? With hospitals limiting patient visitations, expect that you may have to restrict friends and family visits during and after birth.
Your birthing plan may be highly impacted by COVID-19. It’s also possible that you may not need to do any adjustments at all. Much of this depends on the current status of the pandemic in your region. Regardless, make sure to discuss any questions and plans with your health care practitioner.
Don’t Add To Your Stress
This is a trying period for everyone, even for people who usually are relatively resilient against stress.
To avoid adding unnecessary stress, try to limit the amount of news you watch, and reduce the time you spend on social media. That’s not to say you should put your head in the sand and cut yourself off from world events. The point is to stay away from any news or digital content that may lead to stressful conditions.
Remember, there are some things you can control to some extent, like your immediate personal space, your family relations, etc. However, there are also plenty of things that are out of your control, such as The spread of COVID-19, horrifying current events, and more.
Focus on what you can control, and responsibly limit your intake of the things that you can’t.
Understand The Risks – Accurately
Our understanding of COVID-19 is undoubtedly evolving. But there are some things that doctors and scientists currently believe as it comes to COVID-19 and pregnancy. Thankfully, the news is good.
First, pregnant women are just as likely as the rest of the general public to catch COVID-19. This means that you are not in graver danger or more likely to catch COVID simply because you are pregnant.
It also appears that pregnant women who do get COVID are just as likely to recover as the rest of the general population. That is not to say that a pregnant woman doesn’t potentially face additional complications, and more study is needed in this area. However, right now, the research bodes well for pregnant women.
There is extremely limited data suggesting that preterm birth is more possible among pregnant women who contract COVID-19, but more study is needed.
Even better news: The limited studies conducted show that a woman who catches COVID-19 does not pass the disease to her fetus or baby. Tests of breast milk and amniotic fluid found no evidence of COVID-19.
All of this is to say that pregnant women should be taking the same precautions as many of us. Limit your social interactions, stay in the home whenever possible, and practice good hygiene. Doing so can absolutely reduce your risks of contracting COVID-19 and enduring the misery that comes with it.