Pregnancy during a pandemic and how to stay positive
Pregnancy is an overwhelming experience in itself and the rapid spread of CoVid-19 and its symptoms are only adding to the anxiety of our mommies-to-be. Continuously evolving, this virus affects different people in different ways. It is only natural for expecting mothers at this time to have questions about how pregnancy during CoVid has changed and the impact it will have on them and their newborn baby.
Pandemic Pregnancy Planning – Stay Careful, Be Carefree
Pregnancy is an overwhelming experience in itself and the rapid spread of CoVid-19 and its symptoms are only adding to the anxiety of our mommies-to-be. Continuously evolving, this virus affects different people in different ways – some may experience severe symptoms like difficulty in breathing and respiratory disorders, others may have milder symptoms like fever and loss of taste and there are even some that may have absolutely no symptoms (asymptomatic). It is only natural for expecting mothers at this time to have questions about how pregnancy during CoVid has changed and the impact it will have on them and their newborn baby. During pregnancy, there are many scans and screenings you have to go through and the way they are done might have changed. Keeping yourself safe is a priority. We will try and address a few concerns, hereon.
Are CoVid complications more severe if you are pregnant?
Yes, your chances of a severe illness are higher due to changes in your immune system. As per the CDC pregnant women are at a higher risk of severe CoVid-19 illness as compared to non-pregnant people. Expecting women are at an increased risk of other adverse consequences such as preterm birth.
How can you reduce the risk of contracting CoVid-19?
The ideal way to protect yourselves is by practicing social distancing and wearing a face mask when you step out of the house. It is advised to stay home as much as possible and take all the necessary precautions if you step out.
Maintain at least 6 feet distance. Stay away or limit interactions with people who may be experiencing flu like symptoms like cold, cough, fever etc. even if they are present in your own house
Wash your hands from time to time with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Carry a sanitizer with 60% alcohol with you at all times incase the option of washing hands is unavailable.
There may not be an active corona outbreak in your area but you must take all the steps as if it were spreading. People maybe asymptomatic at the moment and hence cases being reported are fewer. Do not take a chance or let your guard down.
How can you be prepared and remain healthy?
Keep a stock of prescribed and OTC medication for up to 30 days at all times. This will reduce the number of trips you need to make to a pharmacy.
Get vaccinated for whooping cough and Influenza during pregnancy in order to protect you and your baby. Ideally, other people in your household should also get vaccinated.
Stay in touch with your healthcare provider and ask questions whenever in doubt. If you think you may have contracted the virus or are experiencing any flu-like symptoms call/ visit a doctor immediately.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation do not hesitate to call 911 right away. Do not let the fear of contracting CoVid-19 prevent you from getting the care you need – hospitals have taken all the precautions in order to treat patients while protecting them from the virus.
Please note information regarding the COVID virus and vaccination keeps changing on a weekly basis and you must look up the most current news source and WHO for updated health and vaccine information.
How has COVID-19 changed your birth plan?
Though hospitals and medical centers have taken measures to ensure the safety of mothers and babies during delivery, there may be a few changes you may experience and this may vary from hospital to hospital.
Your visits to the OB/GYN prior to the birth will reduce – some will be virtual appointments. You may find yourself going alone for Ultrasound appointments.
There will be a restriction on the number of visitors (at times no visitors allowed) and who can be present in the delivery room
You and your partner will have to wear a mask. Everyone around you – hospital staff, doctors, and nurses will be in protective gear.
You may be discharged earlier than expected and may not be allowed to stroll the hallways during labor.
Can you get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding? Is it safe?
Yes, you are ok to receive the vaccine, however, there may be some time before you receive this vaccine as it is being administered to healthcare and frontline workers on priority.
Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna’s clinical trials were not conducted for pregnant women or women who are lactating. The reason for this is unless the vaccine has been proven to be successfully tolerated by people who are not pregnant, they do not vaccinate pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Hence, there is no sufficient data to prove that the vaccines are safe for women who fall under this category.
On one hand, the World Health Organization does not endorse that pregnant women get the vaccine at this time “due to insufficient data,” however, it also makes an important warning: “unless the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks, such as in health workers with a high risk of exposure and pregnant women with comorbidities placing them in a high-risk group for severe COVID-19.”
How can you take care of your mental and physical health?
Pregnancy during a global pandemic will involve fewer or no visitors at the time of birth, cancellation of baby showers, skipping prenatal care classes and other such things that one would normally look forward to. But know that you aren’t alone – moms-to-be across the globe are taking these steps to ensure the safety of themselves and their newborn. Just keep telling yourself – this is being done for the health and wellness of your baby and it will make life so much simpler.
You may not have people physically present but in reality, the social connection can be maintained via Zoom calls, video chats etc. Let your family and friends get a sneak peek of the baby, share your experiences with them, have a virtual baby shower on Zoom, and get your friends to send you those gifts you truly deserve.
Take frequent breaks and unwind by taking up a new hobby. Try a wellness-focused app for mediation or yoga for some peace of mind. Turn to stress-busters like nature, music, gardening to help soothe yourself and reduce anxiety.
Experiment with new recipes using healthy foods & try and get enough sleep.
Now is the time to capitalize on the quiet and intimate time that you and your partner have with the baby. Look at the positive side of not having so many visitors and getting this time to discover your newborn and yourself as a mommy. It is extremely critical to remain positive and look at the bright side in every situation.
This is your time, and you deserve the best that can come out of this ongoing pandemic situation. Don’t let CoVid ruin it for you. Be prepared, be positive and remain healthy.
A practice that has been followed over generation is Swaddling. This involves wrapping your baby in a blanket to keep them secure. The infant’s arms and legs are ticked in tightly and the blanket envelopes them neck down. When you swaddle your baby, you are essentially giving the position of the womb to your infant.
Swaddling prevents the baby from getting startled from sounds or even no reason at all. This reflex last for about 3-6 months but can tend to prevent the baby from sleeping. Swaddling enables the baby to sleep soundly and sleep longer, giving you some extra time as well.