While pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic is full of unknowns, there are many things you can do to help protect yourself and your infant. Here are some tips from the Riverview Health OB/GYN physicians and hospitalists to help keep your growing family safe.
Practice good hand hygiene. It may sound overly simple, but keeping your hands clean is one of the best things you can do for your health right now (before and after delivering). Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer if you cannot wash with soap and water. Don’t forget to moisturize as well to prevent dry, cracked skin.
Make efforts to keep your anxiety low. Stress isn’t just bad for your own immune system—your baby can feel your stress as well. Focus on what you can control and let go of the rest. Limit the amount of time you read the news or scroll on social media each day. Try to do activities you find relaxing like reading a book, talking on the phone with friends or going for a walk.
Avoid public places as much as possible. Consider ordering your groceries online for pick-up or having them delivered. Don’t forget that many pharmacies also offer drive-thru options as well. If you have to go out for supplies, be sure to wipe down your shopping cart with an antibacterial wipe prior to shopping. Use hand sanitizer as soon as you leave the store and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when you return home.
Avoid sick people. Social distancing is not only important for your safety, but also for your baby. While it may be difficult, let family and friends know it is important for your health. Schedule video chats or phone calls with loved ones so you remain connected even if you can’t be together physically.
Stay hydrated. While pregnant you should be drinking at least eight to 12 glasses of water a day. This will help keep you and your baby healthy.
Begin making plans for when you bring your baby home. Try to have a small stock of necessary items on hand (newborn and size one diapers, wipes, formula, etc.) so you don’t have to go out.
Avoid having visitors at your home. We know these are exciting times and you want to share your joy with friends and family; however, people can often be carriers of illness before symptoms emerge. Encourage family and friends to meet your baby virtually for the first time. There will be plenty of time for loved ones to meet your newest addition during safer circumstances.
If you have other children in the home, encourage distance. If siblings must hold the baby, ensure they wash their hands prior.
Have extra resources on hand. A month’s worth of diapers and wipes is encouraged, and at least a week’s worth of formula. Diapers and wipes are available on Amazon; however, delivery times are running around 4-5 days. Some stores are also putting restrictions on the number of certain items you can buy. This, in addition to shorter operating hours, means a 3 a.m. run to the store isn’t a possibility right now. Preparation in advance is key.
Have another adult available to help with your baby’s appointments. Pediatric physicians are recommending that two adults come to the baby’s appointments. One adult is encouraged to wait in the car with the infant, while the other adult goes into the office to check-in. Once the physician is ready to see the baby, they will be brought into the office to be seen. Upon exit, the car seat should be wiped down with a disinfectant wipe.
If you have concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Riverview Health OB/GYN physician’s office, or to Michelle Allen, director of maternity services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.