CLEVELAND, OH — Due to the coronavirus, the CDC says that pregnant people might be at a higher risk of catching severe illnesses. However, this doesn’t mean that those who are pregnant (or trying to get pregnant) are completely powerless to fight the outbreak. Oluwatosin Goje, MD, Cleveland Clinic’s Ob/Gyn and reproductive infectious disease specialist shares some guidance for facing the challenges of a pandemic pregnancy.
Stress, of course, is very common among pregnant people. But thanks to the pandemic, they have more to worry about now. Dr. Goje says that part of the stress is the unknown — not knowing when life will return to normal, or if it will at all. So, it’s best to take it one day at a time and do your best to stay happy and healthy.
There are some things you can do to tackle the stress: plan ahead for your prenatal visits. As your partner may not be allowed to join you during these visits, make use of technology and keep them virtually present. Also, it might be a good time to consider a backup birthing partner just in case your partner gets ill.
Don’t forget to practice mindfulness so as to reduce stress and promote a healthier pregnancy. On top of that, keep your diet healthy. You might be tempted to take an extra bite of junk food with your pregnancy as an excuse, but remember that both you and your baby need healthy food.
For safety measures, your prenatal visits will be a mix of in-person and virtual. At the start of your pregnancy, it’s likely that a virtual appointment is needed every four weeks. Along the way, the number of virtual visits will narrow down until you have weekly visits nearing the end of your pregnancy.
Also, expect these changes with your birthing plans due to the pandemic: there will be fewer people accompanying you during labor, and masks will be required. These are of course to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
If you’ve been infected with the virus, the first thing you need to do is to inform your provider right away. It is also important to let the people around you know about it so that they can make the best decisions for themselves to stay safe. Isolate yourself and seek emergency care immediately if you’re experiencing trouble breathing and other warning signs. If your symptoms are mild, stay hydrated and rest. To help manage your symptoms you can take OTC medicines such as acetaminophen.
Lastly, Dr. Goje and many other health professionals have emphasized that it is more important for pregnant people (or those trying to conceive) to get the vaccine as they are at a higher risk of severe illness. If you have concerns that may hinder you from taking the vaccine, talk with your provider instead of just not taking the vaccine.
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