Pregnancy is stressful at the best of times. Expectant mothers are shuttled back and forth to the hospital, as doctors and nurses test and prod to ensure everything is normal. Then there’s preparing nurseries, picking out clothes and toys, deciding on names. And that’s before the contractions even begin!
But for pregnant women, the COVID-19 pandemic is adding another layer of stress. Extra screenings are required, and many consultations formerly in person are now done via video appointments. Then, once labor begins, expectant mothers are only allowed one visitor. There’s an old saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. That same village is needed in pregnancy and while giving birth, too. But the support networks that helped new mothers have suddenly been pulled away, like a rug from under their feet.
With all the pandemic stress, it’s hard to savour the joy of having a baby. You do all the reading to prepare – but there are no pregnancy books about pandemics.
Instead, here are some key tips and facts to help.
The risk of newborn transmission
Health and safety of your unborn child will be your number one concern. But don’t be too alarmed. Pregnant women aren’t at higher risk of catching COVID, according to Dr Todd Jenkins. He assured pregnant women that although ‘they’re at a little higher risk of needing to be admitted to the ICU… most women still do very well’.
For women who are COVID positive prior to admission, they’ll be placed in an isolation room. After birth, the baby will be isolated and tested for COVID. So, you can rest easy, knowing your baby is safe. However, separating moms and their babies is only done when completely necessary, and only with the parent’s permission. If you have any questions, your obstetrician will happily provide more information.
One common question that gets raised is breastfeeding. Neither breastfeeding nor transmission during pregnancy are believed to be common methods of infection. Meaning your baby’s safe inside and outside the womb.
Try to reach out
Birth plans and hospital stays are likely to shift with requirements. Such rapid changes understandably increase stress. You’re not alone. From Columbus, Ohio to Paris, expectant mothers all over the world are feeling the strain. Embracing modern technology can bring your friends and family to your bedside. Online support groups let you speak to other new moms, providing an outlet for your frustrations and worries. Also, to save having any disgruntled grandparents, aunties or uncles, let everyone know the visiting expectations. The more they know, the better they can support you.
At this point, it’s almost second nature. But remember, wear masks, wash hands, social distance, and limit contact. Make sure that you still get all your visits booked and attend any video health checks. Just because they’re online, doesn’t mean they’re not worth it.
Vitamin D is a fantastic supplement to start taking. It helps boost your immune system and lowers the risk of premature birth. Considering we’re all stuck inside, and we get vitamin D from sunlight, it’s well worth taking a daily dose.
Most of all, try and enjoy the time as much as possible. It might be stressful and busy and lonely. But do the best with the information available. Remember, once they’re safely tucked into your arms, your worries will melt away.
*** Don’t forget to book your maternity and newborn photos. Plan ahead to make sure your photographer has availability. For Columbus, Ohio sessions contact Stacey Ash Photography.