29 Apr Your Pregnancy in a Pandemic
You waited so long to get pregnant. And then something you would have never expected happened. A global pandemic.
Like most of us, you’re spending your days watching the news. Watching scary story after scary story about this new virus, COVID-19. You’re most likely beginning to wonder what impact COVID-19 will have on your pregnancy and this new life you are bringing into the world.
Being a new parent comes with its own set of fears, but this—this is a different story. Pandemic or not, YOU ARE PREGNANT! You should be celebrating this precious moment in your life. Remember your deep cleansing breaths? Take a few to make sure you are not letting the joy of this moment pass you by.
Each day we are learning a little more about how the coronavirus spreads. And how we can stop it through physical distancing. As you know, the virus spreads most predominantly through human to human contact.1 That is why physical distancing is so important. Especially since we now know someone could have it and not show any symptoms at all.
Yet physical distancing and the restrictions that are set up to keep us all safe will make this pregnancy different from what you imagined. Normally, this is a time to celebrate and welcome a new life with friends and family. Instead of focusing on what you might be missing out on, remember this too shall pass. At some point you will all be together again. In the meantime, encourage well-meaning family who will want to check on you to keep their distance for now. There will be time to celebrate in the future!
What About My Baby Shower?
While disappointing, at this time it’s best to reschedule your baby shower. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a shower. Did you know that some families decide to wait until after the baby is born for their showers? This allows family and friends to literally “shower” the baby and new parents with gifts! This might be a new tradition you start in your family! If you do want a shower, you just have to be more creative than you originally planned. Do a live baby shower on social media. Or consider hosting a Zoom baby shower. This gives you and your partner a unique opportunity to come together and think of something really fun!
For more ideas read this NYT article
What About My Birth Plan?
If you got your happy news before all this started, you might have already created the birth plan of your dreams. Your birth plan is a document that sets up all your preferences from medications to medical intervention. You might be frustrated that you won’t be able to implement all your ideas. If you already have one child or have talked with friends, then you know that when it comes to giving birth, nothing ever goes exactly as planned! If you talk with women who have more than one child they will tell you each of their deliveries were different and as unique as the children themselves. So remember that even your best laid plans in a world without COVID-19 still might not have gone the way you had envisioned.
There are a few things that you should think about between now and your delivery date so that you can still feel prepared.
If your birth plan includes having your spouse or partner, family, or friends in the hospital with you, be aware. Many hospitals are now banning support people from the labor and delivery areas. Hospitals are trying to lower the chances of you or your newborn getting ill. As you approach your due date, check with your doctor to see what regulations are in place at your hospital. As of this writing, most hospitals are allowing the presence of one support person, provided they are asymptomatic and wear a mask. So make sure your partner is practicing social distancing as well!
Maybe you are considering a home birth due to the changes in the hospitals. If this is something you are considering, make sure you are working with your trusted midwife to develop a plan. Home births have been around for centuries. But, like all births, they can run the risk of emergencies happening. Getting you and your new baby to the hospital only to encounter an overburdened medical system is not what you want. Talking this over with your midwife, will lower your stress level since you will have a plan in place. Just remember if it doesn’t go the way you planned, that is actually normal!
New York City, a hotbed of the COVID-19, has seen an increase in home births that were originally planned for hospitals. Moms-to-be are not necessarily avoiding hospitals,just hospitals that are now overrun from COVID-19. 2
If your birth plan included working with a doula, there are ways to still make that happen. Most doulas are now offering services remotely. Most likely will not be allowed into the hospital with you. But they can FaceTime you in the months before you give birth. And after your precious baby has arrived.
Will My Doctor Change How Often They See Me?
If your doctor has cut back how often they want to see you, it’s a good thing! They want to make sure you limit your exposure as much as possible—and keep you healthy for labor and delivery. If you were seeing your doctor more often on your last child than on this one, it’s okay. If you feel nervous, it’s also acceptable to call your doctor. Let them explain why they are moving out the timeline on your appointments.
What If I Feel Sick?
Starting to get some sniffles? Maybe your throat is sore? Or you just aren’t feeling well? What should you do? Should you go to your doctor’s office?
Your first step is to reach out to your doctor or OBGYN—by PHONE. Do not go into the office or the emergency room until you have called your doctor. Make sure to let them know if you have been traveling or have been in contact with anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19. Your doctor can then determine if you need to be evaluated. Your doctor can also make sure that if you do have to go to the office or the hospital that your exposure is limited. OBGYN’s has been given special instructions on how to handle pregnant women who have COVID-19.3
What Is My Risk If I Have COVID-19 And I Am Pregnant?
With all the talk about at-risk populations, you may be wondering if being pregnant puts you at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. While pregnancy does depress your immune system slightly, the chances of you contracting COVID-19 are not increased from being pregnant.4 You are just as likely/unlikely to contract the coronavirus as anyone else. In addition, your symptoms may be mild to moderate—just like everyone else.
The difference here is anxiety. Being pregnant can cause anxiety under normal circumstances. So can being a new mother. It’s important to make self-care a priority. Make sure you are getting enough sleep . Make sure you are getting some sunshine while practicing physical distancing. Most parts of the county still have parks and pathways open to the public. Go out for a walk and enjoy the spring sunshine! There are also pregnancy yoga videos on the internet to try. Yoga can help you soothe yourself and decrease your anxiety levels.
Can COVID-19 Cause a Miscarriage?
You may be scared that contracting COVID-19 will cause a miscarriage. An unfortunate part of pregnancy is concern over a miscarriage. Under normal circumstances you have a 26% chance of a miscarriage, many of these were so early women didn’t even know they were pregnant.5
This is higher than most women realize. While the studies are still coming, at the time of this writing, there does not appear an increase in miscarriages due to COVID-19.6
You might also be concerned about passing COVID-19 on to your baby. Luckily, early studies show that the chances of your passing on the virus to your baby are very small.7 This means the chances are that, even in this very strange time in history, you will still have the same pregnancy that you would have had before all this started. One thing you can control is maintaining good health during your pregnancy during this pandemic. And continuing to maintain good health after it is over.
Nutrition During Pregnancy
If you are just finding out you are pregnant, you might not have not considered your nutrition. This is a good time to start developing healthier habits. Now is a good time to schedule a phone appointment with Dr. Kate to develop a nutrition plan for your pregnancy.
Are your normal healthy eating habits off due to feeling blue because of the virus or just from boredom from staying at home? This is not the time to let go of your health habits. Schedule a phone appointment with Dr. Kate to get you back on track! Your body will feel so much better if you feed it with the good nutrition it is craving.
Dr. Kate will teach you how nutrition, changes in body composition, exercise, supplementation, and sleep can positively impact the health of your pregnancy. Holistic pregnancy care throughout the entire pregnancy increases your chances of a healthy full-term pregnancy, a straightforward labor, a rapid recovery, and successful breastfeeding. It can also decrease your risk for postpartum depression.
Did you know the right meal plan can help ease those dreaded symptoms of nausea? That if you have mild nausea your meal plan might be different than someone who is experiencing moderate to severe nausea? This is so important right now, because the last thing you want is to go into a doctor’s office for nausea. Especially if you can holistically help symptoms at home. For your first trimester, you will want to look at getting enough folate for your baby’s nervous system. You will also need to get plenty of vitamin B. You might consider Dr. Kate’s first trimester meal plan.
Your nutritional needs are different in the second trimester when your baby is growing teeth and bones. Now is when you need a diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D. And plenty of Omega-3s for your baby’s brain development.
In your third trimester you need a food plan that helps to maintain your energy and prepares your body to heal after birth. Dr. Kate has specific meals plans to make sure you have the most natural and holistic support for each trimester of your pregnancy.
One risk to be aware of is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes affects between 2%-10% of pregnant women.8 If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes by your doctor, you know that your diet is paramount for your health at this time. Gestational diabetes can cause preterm labor, preeclampsia, and long term health issues for you as the mother.9 While having this diagnosis is serious, there are holistic ways to address this condition. The most impactful will be your diet. Schedule a phone consultation with Dr. Kate to discuss the best approach for this.
Now more than ever it is important to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Self-care is important during any time of life, but especially during your pregnancy. Now you are not only taking just yourself but also your new baby. Healthy nutrition, meditation, yoga, or light walking outside in the sunshine are all things you should be doing regardless of pregnancy. But when you are trying to grow a whole new life, they become “must-do’s.”
While it’s important to be well informed, sitting on the couch watching the news may impact you negatively. Watching the news too much may increase your anxiety. Make sure you take the time to enjoy this amazing stage of your life. Make it as pleasurable as possible with good nutrition for symptoms and mindfulness for holding on to this moment in you and your baby’s life.
Dr. Kate is always available for a phone consultation to help support you in this wonderful time of life.