Concerns about keeping healthy are high during pregnancy. When you’re pregnant, your immune system is weakened making you more susceptible to illness. It is known that pregnant women are at a higher risk for respiratory infections such as influenza and SARS-CoV. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) however does not have substantial evidence to say if being pregnant gives you a higher chance of contracting Coronavirus. Right now it looks like normal adults and those that are pregnant are at the same risk.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) there have been babies born preterm to mothers with COVID-19. They cannot say if the preterm births are related to the virus though. There is no evidence that shows the virus can be transmitted to a baby in the womb. No traces of COVID-19 have been found in amniotic fluid and no babies have been born with the virus. Again, this is all based on extremely limited data.
Lowering your Risk
Despite what little is known, if you are pregnant you are considered high risk. The CDC has the following guidelines in place for protection.
- Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases.
- Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if symptomatic:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Call your health care provider’s office in advance of a visit
- Limit movement in the community
- Limit visitors
- Implement steps to prevent illness (e.g., stay home when sick, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, clean frequently touched surfaces daily).
- Create a household plan of action in case of illness in the household or disruption of daily activities due to COVID-19 in the community.
- Consider a 2-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
- Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g., family, friends, co-workers).
- Establish plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, how to adapt to cancellation of events.
- Know about emergency operations plans for schools/workplaces of household members.
To prepare even further, make sure all of your medical records are up to date, you have copies of those medical records and you are utilizing any online resources from your healthcare provider. Speak with your doctor about what in person appointments are necessary. If you need to go in to your appointments, go alone if possible. Definitely leave your other children with someone else at home.
Boost your Immune System
While pregnant you should be taking extra care of your immune system. In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, it has never been more necessary. Make sure you are staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, getting exercise (while social distancing!), and take your prenatal vitamins.
In addition to your vitamins, probiotics are a great way to keep yourself healthy. Studies show that taking probiotics is beneficial to lowering risk for diseases and viral infections. Besides fighting off infections, probiotics can reduce the number of days you are sick and help with problems in the throat.
Studies show that stress can be a factor in how well your immune system is functioning. Pregnancy can be stressful in itself but add COVID-19 on top and you have a recipe for worries and anxieties you weren’t anticipating. Not only might you be stressed about contacting the infection and the health of your baby but extra cleaning, older kids staying at home and no social activities can make it worse. Find ways to make yourself smile and laugh during this time, your body will thank you!
Your Birth Plan
Births are notorious for not going according to plan. This can be small things like the music not being right or larger things like health complications. If you are planning on giving birth soon, you should revisit your birth plan. Speaking to your healthcare provider will help you. Most hospitals are limiting the amount of people you can have in the delivery room or even at the hospital. Some women are now opting for home births instead. It’s important to adapt to this new situation. Although we don’t know everything about the Coronavirus, arming yourself with the knowledge that is available will make all the difference. You can do this mama!