The past month has seen some big and unsettling changes in our daily lives. If you are witnessing the spread of the coronavirus while pregnant it is probably even more unsettling than it may be for some of the rest of us. You may have a lot of questions about how to continue to plan for your little one to arrive, how to stay healthy, and what you should be doing in these weeks of social distancing and isolation. These are all valid concerns and we have put together a guide of all of the basic and fundamental information that you need to know, along with helpful tips for thriving during the outbreak of coronavirus while pregnant.
First, Let’s cover some important health information and questions you may have about how the virus will affect your pregnancy and baby.
Are pregnant women at more risk?
Although the virus has spread quickly, the Center for Disease Control has stated that it is currently unknown if expectant mothers are more at risk of contracting COVID-19. What we do know, is that rapid changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy can make them more vulnerable to certain infections. It is therefore important that if you are expecting you take heed of all of the advised precautions and follow each and every protocol being issued by authorities.
You know what this means already:
- Avoiding unnecessary contact with people outside your household.
- Washing hands for 20 seconds at a time again and again throughout the day.
- Getting lots of rest.
- Keeping hands away from the face.
- No contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms.
Are infants and fetuses at risk for coronavirus?
The good news is that it does not currently look as though fetuses are at risk or that mothers who have contracted coronavirus while pregnant will pass it to their baby. Of nine pregnant women studied who had tested positive for coronavirus while pregnant, none of their babies became infected and the virus was not present in the mother’s breastmilk, in the amniotic fluid, or in the baby’s throats.
Should I still breastfeed while the coronavirus outbreak is active?
The Center for Disease Control has stated that if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed after your baby arrives that you should continue to do so, as breastmilk provides important protection against many illnesses. They have also issued the following guidelines and suggestions for women breastfeeding during this time:
- If you have tested positive for the virus or are sick, you should thoroughly wash your hands prior to breastfeeding or expressing milk.
- You should wear a mask while you are breastfeeding If you have tested positive for the virus or are sick.
- If you are expressing your milk and have tested positive, follow all of the instructions for proper cleaning of your pump each and every time you use it. Additionally, consider having someone who is not infected feed the baby.
Coronavirus while pregnant: preparing for your birth
You have all of the information to keep yourself and your baby safe, but what about all the preparation you still need to do to get ready for the little one to arrive? We know that this is an exciting time and that the spreading of the coronavirus while pregnant means some things are likely not going according to plan. We have put together some ideas and tips to help keep you enthusiastic about your prep and to get the self-care you need right now as well.
Shopping for the nursey and other supplies
If you are journeying in your pregnancy with a partner at home, you may enjoy spending the extra time together researching products and making online orders. Depending on the stage you are in your pregnancy, make a list of what you need in roughly the next eight weeks and another list of things that you won’t need for ten weeks or so. Then, see what you can order online from the first list, and try to stay patient about the second list.
If you were planning on getting fitted for a maternity bra, know that you do not need to do this until your eighth month of pregnancy, and then again three to four months after. If you are already there, stay in and do the measurements yourself. Then, order a few from the many online shops. Here are some resources to help you find the right size on your own:
Prenatal yoga and fitness classes
Because fitness classes involve being in such close proximity with others, if your gym or yoga studio hasn’t closed yet, you should discontinue attending classes for the time being. Don’t let this stop you from getting in this important part of your prenatal wellness, however. The internet abounds with online prenatal yoga and fitness classes, both free and with a membership. This is a great opportunity to get into an at-home fitness practice. After all, it won’t always be so easy to get out to do your workouts once the little one arrives.
Here are some of our favorite online prenatal schools and classes:
YouTube has a TON of great prenatal yoga videos:
Prenatal Yoga Center – a community favorite with lovely instructors and affordable packages for online classes, along with some free offerings.
Other online resources for prenatal fitness:
Childbirth education and breastfeeding classes
Education facilities were among the first to close when the coronavirus started spreading in the United States and Britain. This is, of course, sad news for those looking forward to taking a childbirth education class or breastfeeding class in the last trimester. If you are in your second trimester or even very early in your third your education center may resume classes again in time for you to still attend. If not, you can still enjoy a class at home and reap the many benefits. Here are some options to explore:
A private or virtual class
A lot of birth professionals offer private classes, and may be moving to virtual offerings during this time. If you were already signed up for a class that has since been canceled, contact your center to inquire after the contact information of the instructor or ask for a recommendation.
You can also view our extensive list of providers here to see if there is anyone in your area offering private or online classes.
While not quite the same as a face to face training, there are some wonderful options for online instruction that you and your partner may enjoy viewing together during your “hunkering down” time. Here are a few places to start:
Women who take a breastfeeding class are more likely to end up breastfeeding than those who do not, so if you are hoping to nurse your baby it’s a good idea to move forward with some formal instruction even though you cannot attend classes. There are a lot of available online options. You may even find that an online class works better for you, as you will be able to access the information or take a class at any time of the day, which can be especially helpful in the unpredictable third trimester and early postpartum. Some highly reviewed options include:
Social distancing while pregnant
While it may be easy to see the ways that the spread of the coronavirus while pregnant is causing inconvenience and impeding on the fun of sharing your pregnancy with others, it is important to not allow yourself to get discouraged, to make the most of your extra time, and to take efforts to remain connected with others. We want to support you to thrive in the upcoming weeks and months and have put together a list to help you if you start to feel unsure of what to do next.
Stay connected with others.
Remember: even if the other people in your community aren’t pregnant, they are still experiencing social isolation and also need to stay connected. Keep up the text messages, calls, and social media engagement.
Reach out to someone who may need it.
There are many people living alone or who may be suffering more from feelings of isolation for one reason or another. Your unexpected text or Facetime may be just what they need to make it more easily through the next day.
Write a gratitude list.
Some of the negative aspects of the coronavirus are in our faces right now, but if you look a little deeper you may see that you have a lot to be incredibly thankful for. Set a timer for ten minutes and keep writing down positive things in your life and see if you don’t feel pretty darn good after.
Try out the online fitness classes we have suggested.
This may be your opportunity to develop a fitness routine that will become an important part of your overall wellness plan as a mother.
Learn to meditate or add to your meditation practice.
Check out InsightTimer for guided meditations of all types. The benefits of meditation during this time will be even more apparent.
Keep a routine.
Getting up “on time,” showering, getting dressed in regular clothes, and working on a project or on your actual work are great ways to make sure that you stay productive and mentally healthy.
Have you been putting off cleaning out that junk drawer or hallway closet? Now is your chance!
Is there a little something extra you can do even during Netflix binge sessions? Pregnancy and maternity leave are good times to settle in an pick up the hobbies you’ve been wanting to get back to or pick up. If you need supplies you can still order anything you need from Amazon.
Walk it out!
Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day, and fresh air is important for your physical and mental health.
We are sending love to our community during this time and to all of the expectant mommies who are having to add this to their plate right now. We hope that you will make the most of this time, stay healthy, and continue to get excited about welcoming a new addition to your family.