How COVID-19 Makes Pregnancy Different
Are you stressed about being pregnant during a global pandemic? With a little vigilance you can be happy, healthy and stress-free in the midst of COVID-19.
Are you pregnant or ready to become pregnant? It’s a big deal, even in non-pandemic times. And these days, you might be stressing over whether the coronavirus could impact the health of your pregnancy or the experience in general.
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According to the CDC, pregnant people might be at an increased risk for severe illness due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re pregnant (or trying to become pregnant) it’s important to be mindful about reducing your risk of getting sick. You’ll need to stay vigilant in protecting yourself by handwashing, keeping a safe distance and avoiding public places where people don’t wear masks.
Ob/gyn and reproductive infectious disease specialist Oluwatosin Goje, MD, offers more guidance about having a pandemic pregnancy.
A. Part of the stress is the unknown. We don’t know if or when life will return to pre-pandemic normal. So take it one day at a time and do your best to remain healthy and happy:
A. Both! We need to see you in-person at critical milestones, but the rest can likely be done through telemedicine. I reassure patients that while the quantity of in-person visits may go down, the quality of your care remains high. You can expect these milestones to be in-person visits:
Between these visits, you will likely have a virtual appointment every four weeks until 28 weeks, every two weeks until 36 weeks and weekly until delivery to discuss overall health and identify any concerns, which could indicate you need extra care. Also, if any of the screening results show a potential problem, you may need more in-person visits.
The purpose of increasing the use of telehealth is to ensure waiting rooms aren’t crowded and wait times aren’t prolonged. We want to minimize your exposure wherever possible. If we ask you to come into the clinic, it’s because the benefit outweighs the risk.
A. I generally talk about preferences, rather than birth plans. Things don’t always go as planned (pandemic or no pandemic). There are a few ways your preferences might change because of the coronavirus:
A. We want pregnant women to be relaxed and not anxious, so taking the time to be alone with your partner can be beneficial. If you plan well, it is possible. I recommend a road trip over flying somewhere because you’ll have less exposure to germs and crowds.
Choose a hotel or retreat center that offers room service and talk with the staff about their commitment to cleanliness to make sure you’re comfortable. Avoid crowded places and maintain, hand hygiene, use of facemasks and social distancing while having your babymoon retreat. And remember, regardless of how you travel, stop every two hours to use the bathroom, stretch your legs and stay hydrated.
A. You certainly deserve to be showered with love and attention, but this is not the time to throw caution to the wind. Keeping a physical distance remains very important, and that’s often hard to do with a crowd, even if it’s hosted outside.
If someone insists on throwing you a shower, remember — it’s your body and your baby. It’s perfectly fine to say no and suggest a contact-minimizing alternative, such as a virtual or drive-by baby shower.
But if you must have an in-person shower, please follow the guidelines. Have all attendees remain six feet apart and wear their masks at all times. And skip the refreshments, so people don’t need to remove their masks.
It’s safe to say that a pandemic pregnancy may be a pregnancy like no other. But with a few precautions, you can have a safe, memorable and even enjoyable experience.