Pregnancy looks different during a pandemic, with new restrictions for delivery rooms and virtual prenatal care.
- Pregnancy does not make you more susceptible to catching COVID-19, but it may heighten your risk of developing complications if you have the virus.
- Breastfeeding can be tricky during this time — be sure to follow safety precautions.
- Prenatal and postpartum care may be different than you’d expect, but there are resources that can help.
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Being pregnant is typically a happy time, filled with excitement and anticipation. But with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s understandable if you’re feeling more uncertainty than excitement. You may be wondering what your prenatal visits will look like, how you’ll stay safe during delivery, and who will be able join you in the hospital.
The good news: You’re not alone. There are many resources available to help you get answers and calm your fears. And rest assured, your doctors are also taking every step possible to keep you and your baby safe.
Here are some healthy ways to prepare for your pregnancy journey and delivery during COVID-19.
Know what prenatal care looks like
Your prenatal care experience may seem different but you’ll still get the care you need. For example, more appointments will be virtual or done via telehealth. Your doctor may need to show you how to monitor your own blood pressure and give you guidance on when to call them or visit the office.
If you have questions or concerns, it’s important to communicate with your OB/GYN. Since this is such a different time, your doctor expects that you may be reaching out more often. This article also covers some of the details you’ll need to know as you start your pregnancy care.
Although pregnant women don’t seem to be more susceptible to COVID-19, the CDC says that you may have an increased risk of developing severe illness if you have the virus. It’s critical to protect yourself and your baby from the virus. Make sure you’re following these safety tips from the CDC and maintaining your regular prenatal visits, whether they’re virtual or in-person.
In this Facebook Live discussion, Providence maternal-fetal medicine doctor David Lagrew, MD, talks about maternal safety and family health during COVID-19.
Learn about your hospital’s safety measures
Whether you’re going in to see your OB/GYN for a check-up or planning for delivery at the hospital, it’s essential to read up on all the safety measures and restrictions that are in place to protect you. For example, you may only be able to have one person in the delivery room with you.
Knowing what to expect during your visit or delivery can ease anxieties and help you focus on what’s important — the health of you and your baby.
Plan for post-pregnancy care
After your baby is here, you’ll need to plan for post-delivery check-ups with your OB/GYN and pediatrician. Your doctors will guide you through the process and can answer your questions if you’re nervous about exposing yourself or your baby to COVID-19.
If you test positive for COVID-19, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of breastfeeding and the extra precautions you should take to protect your newborn.
If you’re planning to breastfeed, follow proper safety and cleaning measures to prevent the spread of germs. The CDC says it’s unlikely that mothers can spread COVID-19 to babies through breastmilk. However, the baby can still become infected from respiratory droplets. If you test positive for COVID-19, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of breastfeeding and the extra precautions you should take to protect your newborn.
Find resources to help with mental health
Caring for a newborn can be stressful in the best of times. Add in a pandemic, and it can get overwhelming quickly.
Maintaining your mental health during and after pregnancy is just as important as protecting your physical health. These tips can help. It’s also important to remember that you’re not alone. Reach out to your doctor, a family member or a friend and let them know you need support. Providence’s Maternal Mental Health Team offers virtual health appointments and a virtual postpartum emotional support group to help moms cope. This article includes more detail about these resources.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the pregnancy experience. But that doesn’t mean it still can’t be a joyous time for you and your family. In fact, it may be a bright light your family can focus on during this difficult time.
Find a doctor
If you have questions about your pregnancy during COVID-19, talk to your OB/GYN or another member of your care team. If you’re thinking about starting a family and want to speak to a professional, you can find a compassionate expert through our provider directory or search for one in your area:
What has your #pregnancy experience been like during #COVID19? Share your tips and advice with fellow moms-to-be @providence.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.
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