Pregnancy And Coronavirus
We’re living in a really weird time right now. Most of us are hunkered down in our homes, only going out for the absolute essentials. We’re working from home, putting on a real shirt with our pajama bottoms to have Zoom meetings or Zoom classes. We’re binge-watching everything we ever wanted to watch on Netflix and even a few things we don’t want to watch – because what else is there to do? We’re calling grocery stores to see if they’ve restocked the toilet paper so we know whether to make the trip out or not. Life is definitely weird and surreal.
Life is also a bit scary right now. People are making protective masks out of bandanas and rubber bands. We’re disinfecting all the things we order from Amazon before we open them. Each day, we’re logging onto the Internet or turning on the TV and watching the numbers of people infected with Covid-19 rise.
This is scary for healthy people in the best of circumstances. But it’s even more scary for people with suppressed immune systems or people with pre-existing health conditions. And if you’re pregnant, you might be really scared about what Coronavirus or Covid-19 means for you.
Are pregnant women more at risk of getting Covid-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we just don’t know. This strand of Coronavirus is new, so we aren’t sure whether pregnant women have a bigger chance of getting sick with Covid-19.
We do know that pregnancy changes women’s bodies in ways that increase the chance of getting infections in general, and we know that pregnant women are more likely to get severely sick with other viral respiratory infections (like influenza). So it’s important for pregnant women to try to avoid any illness, including Covid-19.
How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting Covid-19?
Pregnant women protect themselves from this virus the same way the general public protects itself.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If you can’t wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your face – your eyes, your nose, your mouth
- Practice social distancing – stay at least 6 feet from anyone who is sick or who may be sick
- Stay home as much as possible and don’t invite people into your home
- Clean and disinfect surfaces
Can Covid-19 cause problems during a pregnancy?
Because this strand of the virus is so new, we just don’t know yet. We do know that extreme stress during pregnancy can result in preterm labor or low birth weight, so it’s important that you find ways to stay calm and not allow fear about the Coronavirus to cause extreme stress and anxiety. Though it’s perfectly normal to be concerned, you can find ways to take care of yourself and your mental health during this disease outbreak.
Things you can do to help lower your stress and manage your anxiety:
- Limit your intake of the news. Maybe allow yourself to watch or read the news no more than two times each day – enough to be informed but not enough to let it consume you.
- Flip the scary statistics — if the death rate for Covid-19 in the United States is just about 1.4%, that means over 98% of people who get the illness will recover and be fine. That’s a huge majority.
- Take care of your body – stretch, exercise, get some sunshine and fresh air, eat healthy foods.
- Do something you enjoy – start a craft project, have a dance party in the living room, watch a movie, read a book, Facetime with friends. Whatever brings you joy – make time for that every day.
- Talk to friends or a mental health professional – talk to someone about your anxiety. Maybe talking to friends is enough or maybe teleconferencing with a mental health professional will help.
- Maintain a routine. Keeping a routine can be calming.
- Meditate or pray – whatever can help center your mind and calm your soul.
These are weird and scary times, for sure. And it’s very normal for you to be concerned about your own health and about your baby. So take precautions and protect yourself. Then do what you can to choose peace of mind – because that’s just as important for you and your baby.
If we can help answer any questions or if you just need someone to listen to your concerns, please call. We’re here for you.