***Disclaimer – I am NOT a health care professional, these are just tips I have come across***
Having a baby during a global pandemic? Pregnancy and having a newborn is supposed to be one of the most exciting times in your life, right? Currently, being excited about the newborn in your arms, or the newborn about to be in your arms is likely one of the furthest things from your mind. Instead, your Mama-Bear instinct has likely kicked in wondering how to keep this precious bundle of joy safe during a global pandemic.
Below, I am going to give you the low down on what you need to know about COVID-19: pregnancy, birth, and what the hospitals are doing about it to hopefully put your mind at ease.
What Can I do to Limit the Risk of COVID-19?
While most parents-to-be are wondering what their little bundle of joy is going to look like, will they have my eyes? My husbands nose?, today’s mom and dads-to-be have heavier thoughts and questions on their minds like how to limit our exposure to COVID-19?
The most important thing for you to do for your unborn child in this unprecedented era is practice self-isolation. I know, I know, we hear it time and time again; however, self-isolation when you are having a baby during a global pandemic is really the best way to prevent exposure; only leave your home when it is absolutely necessary, and if it is a possibility, work from home.
Washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water upon returning to your home. When I was in culinary school, we were told wash our hands for the duration of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – that way we knew for sure we had washed our hands for 20 seconds.
Avoid touching your face and neck. It seems impossible to avoid touching your face, but this is really important. If you have contact lenses, consider wearing your glasses for the time being.
Cough/sneeze into your elbow.
Stay hydrated and provide your body with proper nutrition. This is huge, even when there isn’t a global pandemic going on. We need to ensure that our unborn child (as well as ourselves) is getting adequate nutrition supplied by mama.
Remember your mental health. For me, this is HUGE on the “To Do” list. There is so much negative being posted all over social media, media outlets, everywhere. We need to remember that good things will continue to happen and try to focus on the good. Everyday take time for yourself. If you relax by having a warm (not hot!) bath, then have a bath. If reading is your thing, read a good book. If you have your nursery set up waiting for the little one’s arrival, go in the room and just look around at all the beautiful that is about to happen in your life. There are plenty of free meditation/calming apps (watch for future posts on different apps). Whatever it is, your little one needs a happy and healthy mama!
Clinic and Hospital Visits
Visits to the hospital and your doctors office will likely look very similar in the precautions being taken to protect you and your baby. Some of these measures seem very scary, I know this first hand by having to take my child for her 12 month immunizations just a couple of weeks ago, but remember, they are in place to protect everyone. Again, if you’re feeling anxious going into these appointments, take some time to meditate, listen to some calming music, whatever you need to do.
Your doctor may or may not be limiting the number of patients being seen per day, making screening calls prior to your appointment, and limiting the number of interactions you need to have, this is to help limit your exposure to COVID-19. Even with all of these measures in place, the care of you and your child is very important.
Entering the hospital, you will likely come across a healthcare worker who will ask you, and your support person, a series of questions, possibly a temperature check, and provide you with a face mask to wear until you arrive to your room. Staff members at the hospital are also being screened prior to their shift.
There are so many resources at your fingertips, so if you have questions or are concerned about anything, bring them to the attention of your care provider or call the Labour and Delivery Unit in which you are to deliver. If you want to know specifically what your hospital or doctors office are doing during this pandemic, reach out to them, information is constantly changing and they will be able to further guide you as new information becomes available.
Healthcare workers are here to support you as you navigate this ever changing time, and they will be there to help you welcome your newest addition to your family.
For more information about having a baby during a global pandemic, please click here to see recommendations from the CDC, and here to see recommendations from the World Health Organization.