Social Distancing While Pregnantby Elizabeth MacDonald
Pregnancy doesn’t go on hold when the rest of the world does. It is a strange position to be in - being completely healthy but still relying on medical professionals at a time when a scary virus is sweeping the world. We are being told to stay away from others, spending most of the days inside, and to absolutely avoid the hospitals if at all possible. What is a pregnant mother to think or do right now?
The latest information relates to the elderly, the immunocompromised, and pregnant women. The request is simply to avoid offices, restaurants, stores, or (basically) other humans at this point. But as a pregnant woman, you may still have so many questions.
First thing’s first: Call your OB or midwife and learn everything they are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This will help you feel better about attending your appointments. Remember that you can change offices at any time of pregnancy, opting for a doctor or midwife that delivers at your home, in a birthing center, or at a smaller hospital. You want to have the utmost confidence in your birthing team throughout this entire situation. You want to know the backup options, the length of stay you’ll be required if you deliver at a hospital, etc.
Once you have your doctor-situation figured out, you need to figure out your daily life until we are all given the green light to resume our lives in a healthy world again. This is when social distancing comes in. What does it mean? What does it mean for a pregnant woman? How extreme should you be?
Social Distancing While Pregnant
Some important things to note (as of now):
There is no increased risk of miscarriage if you contract COVID-19 while pregnant according to Harvard. There are also no pregnancy complications or fetal malformations that have occurred due to the virus. Harvard also states, “A study of nine pregnant women who were infected with COVID-19 and had symptoms showed that none of their babies were affected by the virus. The virus was not present in amniotic fluid, the babies’ throats, or in breast milk. The risk of passing the infection to the fetus appears to be very low.” This means that breastfeeding is also fine if you contract the virus.
A few studies have recognized infant and children’s abilities to avoid symptoms, and these studies have linked the reasoning to the increase in melatonin that children produce. The good news is that women entering 'late 2nd trimester' begin to produce a heightened amount of melatonin. Of course, these studies are new and more research is being done daily, but they are all promising for you and other pregnant women!
However, it is always safer to err on the side of avoidance, right? So here comes the social distancing - the 6’ rule - keeping others at least 6 feet away from you to avoid catching any bacteria that they may be carrying.
The sniffles? Stay home. Skip everything. Self-quarantine for the next week to get yourself healthy. You want your immune system at top performance.
You need to notify your place of employment that you are pregnant if they do not know yet. You should be granted the first right to work-from-home if the position is available.
Traveling is highly discouraged right now, even road trips. While your last vacation may seem extremely important, consider taking a staycation instead.
Recommendations are to cancel all events over 10 people but to be safe, stick with staying around only your immediate family right now. You will be able to host a sip-n-see once your baby is born and the air is cleared. You can also consider hosting a virtual baby shower!
Babies need things, right? Storefronts may be suffering right now, but it doesn’t prevent shopping from happening. Take your registry online! Order anything you need to be delivered to your door. You can have your significant other open all packages outside before bringing products inside if needed.
Take this time to do some prenatal yoga at home, read a few great books, cook some delicious foods, and bond with your baby-to-be!