Pregnancy & COVID-19
While the news and social media are constantly bombarding us with statistics and worse-case scenarios, we at Journey House want to provide education about COVID-19 and how it may or may not affect pregnancy. We hope to put your mind at ease, and help you make wise decisions for you and your baby.
Are pregnant women at greater risk for contracting the virus?
The short answer is, “We don’t know.” This virus is so new and as scientists study the data, they will know better how this virus affects different demographics in our population. Currently, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) does not have any evidence to show whether or not pregnant women are higher risk for contracting the virus. They recommend that pregnant women adhere to the same precautions as everyone else.
People with serious, chronic medical conditions are most at risk for contracting COVID-19. If you are currently working and have heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease, check with your OB-GYN or midwife. They may they recommend quarantine for the next several weeks for your own health and safety.
Focus on pregnancy health.
The most important thing you can do right now for your baby is to take care of yourself. In addition to taking your prenatal vitamins and keeping your OB appointments, you want to take necessary steps to ensure that you stay healthy. It’s important to eat healthy to keep your immune system strong. Check out some great suggestions on our blog post, Eating for Two!
You also need to get plenty of sleep (at least 8 hours!). Did you know that cell phones affect sleep? Set your phone aside at least 30 minutes before bedtime and consider picking up a good book instead! Can’t make it to the library? Call and ask your library about online audio books.
It’s also vital that you remain emotionally healthy and lower your stress level. While we like to know what’s going on, the news often contributes to our increased anxiety, as we’re continually reminded of all that’s uncertain. Be proactive and turn it off. (You may find you don’t miss it!) Give yourself permission to take a break for a bit and find something else to do, like take a walk in your neighborhood or talk on the phone to a friend or take a nap!
Limit person-to-person contact.
There is still a lot that is unknown about this virus. Limiting contact with others is important, not only because the virus is spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs, but also because COVID-19 has been shown to be contracted through “community spread”. This should not be a cause for panic, but precaution.
For the stay-at-home momma with small children, this recommendation may immediately conjure dreams of solitary isolation. A four-star resort would be a welcome solution! Although your fantasy of being whisked away from the demands of housework and mothering won’t become reality, you can still embrace this time and find joy in the midst of social distancing.
The good news is that based on the evidence available, children do not seem to be at a higher risk for getting COVID-19. While there have been some cases of children getting sick, it is mostly adults who are at risk.
There are a lot of great ideas and activities for families with small children or school-aged children to do at home. Limiting contact with others does not mean home confinement. It’s important for kids (and moms!) to be outside, get fresh air, go on a walk, and enjoy the signs of Spring peeking through!
Follow the CDC guidelines.
People are thought to be most contagious when they’re displaying symptoms. These symptoms include a fever (at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), cough, and difficulty breathing and can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus. Avoid people who are displaying symptoms and stay home if you’re sick! Wash your hands. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough. Keep surfaces disinfected and clean. Seek medical attention if you start to develop symptoms.
What if I go into labor?
Many hospitals are implementing strict limitations on visitors, in order to protect their patients. This not only limits the number of visitors allowed during labor and delivery, but also during your hospital stay. The health and safety of you and your baby is what is most important!
What if I think I have contracted COVID-19?
If you think you have COVID-19, if you are displaying symptoms, or if you think you have been exposed to the virus, contact your healthcare provider and OB-GYN for medical advice. Make sure to follow all CDC guidelines and precautions. If you test positive for the virus or if you have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, inform your doctor and ask them to contact your local health department.
For more information, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s website for more information. http://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
You are not alone.
It’s at times like these that we so often feel overwhelmed and alone. But know that there is help available and helpers in your community that want to walk with you. If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety or have additional questions about your pregnancy, reach out. Pregnancy Resource Centers not only offer free services, but a listening ear! Though you may have to distance socially for a time and may experience feelings of loneliness, you are not alone.