There are so many unknowns about our health with this new virus. We hope masks work well enough and we distance as we wait to learn how airborne COVID-19 is. We are told to not touch our faces and sanitize but now we are told there are toxic sanitizers being sold.
I am just a Mom with a tween and 2 older boys trying to navigate through this, but I couldn’t imagine the extra element needing to protect your pregnancy or having a newborn on top of it all.
I have been searching to bring my readers tips and education with COVID-19 and these tips are for the Pregnant Mamas out there. Being prepared with the right tools and taking comfort in knowing that these tips are from a health expert may help you take all the necessary precautions to make it safely through your pregnancy during this virus.
Protect Your Pregnancy With These 5 Tips
- Get a pulse oximeter: Hypoxemia (a below-normal level of oxygen in your blood) is one of the signs of serious illness with COVID-19. You can pick up a pulse oximeter for around $50 and take regular readings of your pulse and oxygen saturation. Get a baseline so that you know if something looks off. A baseline for healthy people is 90 or higher. When we see below 90, we start getting concerned.
- Check for fever: Whether you have a fancy new thermometer that reads from the forehead or an old-school glass one where the mercury rises, take your temperature regularly to make sure you aren’t experiencing a fever.
- Keep surfaces tidy for easy cleaning: Keeping tidy may not seem like a health tip for pregnancy, but in the days of COVID-19 it absolutely is. You want the surfaces in your home to be able to easily be wiped down and disinfected, frequently — at least once a day.
- If you choose to travel, choose safely: For example, to further protect your pregnancy you might choose to visit a loved one in a remote rural town with few to no COVID-19 cases, but don’t travel somewhere that you’ll be interacting with a lot of people.
- Keep your distance: How close is too close? Can you smell the other person’s detergent, deodorant, or shampoo? That’s too close!And for some extra protection when you are going to be around other people, wear a mask. It’s an additional safety measure that can only help you and your baby.
Here are some specific questions to ask your doctor if you are pregnant NOW, during the coronavirus outbreak:
- Have you already been exposed? You have the right to know whether or not your doctor has already been exposed to COVID-19 or not, and what the implications are either way. Have they been tested recently? When was the last negative test? Don’t hesitate to gather information to put yourself more at ease.
- What will happen if I’m positive for COVID-19 when I deliver? Make a plan with your doctor so that you have one less thing to stress about if this occurs. As much as you don’t want your baby whisked away after birth, the plan to protect and test your new baby for the illness will include isolating you from her/him initially after birth.
- Will my baby be immune if I have/had COVID-19? One Chinese case study found that a mother who had COVID-19 and delivered her baby via C-section passed immunity onto her baby but not the illness. Other studies, however, have shown cases of mothers passing the virus on to their babies.
- Will you be the one delivering my baby? Often, the O.B. you’re working with may not actually be the one to deliver your baby. Asking this question now gives you an opportunity to understand who will be there during delivery, and who else you need to talk to about their COVID-19 exposure and testing.
- Will I be allowed to have my support team in the birthing room with me? If you want your partner and/or a doula in the birthing room with you, this is a very important question to ask your doctor. The rules as we navigate the pandemic are constantly changing and under evaluation, so ask now, and ask again as birth gets closer.
These tips and questions to protect your pregnancy are provided by maternal health expert “Rural Doc” Alan Lindemann, M.D., former winner of the Rural Health Care Provider of the Year award and co-author of “Modern Medicine: What You’re Dying to Know.”