The Coronavirus has changed the lives of billions of people, here’s how to stay safe, sane, and happy while pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Becoming pregnant is a wild time. Filled with anticipation, worry, joy, confusion, and a number of other incredible and sometimes maddening, emotions. Adding on COVID-19 and the uncertainty it’s placed on our world can feel like an insurmountable burden, but don’t worry. Many babies have already been born during this time, and surely many more will be. As epidemiologists and doctors learn more about the way the novel coronavirus behaves, new information will be released. Each time, managing to deliver better advice about how to stay safe and sane during this time.
Some strategies are the same ones you already know so well- like eating the right foods and avoiding the ones that could pose a risk. Avoiding alcohol and smoking. But just how exactly do you integrate your healthy, pregnant lifestyle into a world that may not be something you recognize? Listen to experts, unplug once in a while, and remember to relish in this amazing experience as often as possible.
General Precautions to Being Pregnant During COVID-19 Pandemic
While there have been some changes to the initial guideline set out by a number of professional organizations and communities, what they’re saying isn’t all that different from the guidelines given earlier. Most of the best practices for being pregnant during the new coronavirus outbreak are focused on the mental health and overall wellbeing of the mother. Take care of your baby, by taking care of you.
Stay at Home
Whenever possible, stay home. Try and set up a work from home structure if you can. Ask friends and family members to run errands for you, or jump in and take over public activities. If you have other children, be mindful of their social distancing habits, and try to find renewed vigor for good hand washing practices. When you have to leave your house, either for work, or because you’re in desperate need of a change in scenery- be smart about the places you go.
If you can, choose outdoor settings that allow you to be well apart from other individuals. Six feet is suggested, even more, is clever. The more space you put between yourself, other people, and any shared surfaces, the less likely you’ll be exposed to the virus. More space can help to keep you from inhaling respiratory droplets, which is how the virus is spread. Being at home is the best practice for now, but we understand that’s not a realistic opportunity for everyone. Carry hand sanitizer and wear a mask or face covering whenever possible.
Exercise is an important component to every pregnancy– even ones that happen in COVID times. So try and keep a simple, low-impact exercise routine whenever you can. It’s best if you choose exercises that can be easily achieved at home. Avoid gyms and other shared spaces whenever possible. Consider using Zoom or Skype, or some other type of video chat service if you prefer group exercise. Don’t share exercise equipment.
If you choose to head outdoors for your exercise, remember that public bathrooms are not the safest place for you to be at this time. Find a place where you can walk without contacting or bumping into others or choose a loop that offers you close proximity to your own facilities.
Antenatal nutrition is super important! You’ll still want to avoid things like sushi and soft cheese, but now more than ever it’s important to avoid uncooked foods prepared by people outside of your household. While it’s normal for family and friends to want to pitch in any way that they can, politely remind them that it’s not ideal for you to accept foods that can’t be reheated properly. Wash your fruits and vegetables, and be mindful of safe food storage practices.
While these things may not be a quick way to expose yourself to COVID-19, it’s important to be wary of foodborne illness or anything that might require a trip to the hospital. Now is a great time to consider brushing up on your cooking or baking skills! Make sure that if you explore home-preservation methods like fermenting or canning, that you pay close attention to safe food handling procedures.
That’s right! Socialize! While it might sound crazy, there are a number of ways for you to interact with friends, family, and other expectant mothers that don’t involve a face-to-face visit. There are a number of fun conversations and messaging apps you can download, as well as video chat systems. Check out online blogs, forums, and community groups and reach out to other mothers who are experiencing the same struggles that you’re facing.
Don’t hesitate to seek out online therapists or counselors at this time. It’s truly an unprecedented period in global history, with a number of unfamiliar frontiers being breached. Pay close attention to your mental health and never be afraid to reach out.
Visiting Your Doctor While Being Pregnant During COVID-19 Pandemic
Prenatal, antenatal, and postnatal care are just as important now as they always have been. Make sure that you’re visiting your doctor regularly, and have a plan in place should something seem not quite right. Familiarize yourself with symptoms to be aware of and consider online consultation when appropriate.
Keep Up with Appointments
While it’s perfectly reasonable to feel a bit unsure about attending your regularly scheduled doctors appointments, remember that these are incredibly important to both the health of your baby and yourself. Your doctor or maternity team will know exactly how to respond to any issues that might crop up. Follow any guidelines they give you closely.
Remember to adhere to excellent hand hygiene, wear a face covering or mask, and try not to touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes. Be particularly vigilant of these activities any time you’re in public.
Stay in Contact
Stay in close contact with your doctor and maternity team. Specifically, if you’re in a high-risk category, or are at a later stage in your pregnancy. Doctors are well equipped to deal with patients in a safe and efficient manner during the pandemic. Let them know about any anxieties or reservations that you might be feeling. Chances are, you’re not alone- they will have excellent advice for you in dealing with these problems.
Depending on where you live and your government and medical regulations that are in place, your team may handle your case differently for those of others. Talk to them immediately if you should have any questions. Let them help you prepare and create a birth plan, making sure to detail all of the rules and expectations that will apply to your soon to come delivery!