Pregnancy is a joyous time of excitement for mothers-to-be and their families. At the same time, it’s a period of questions and concerns. When you’re pregnant, it’s natural to have plenty of worries, but in our current situation, worrying more is also natural.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and fear. Apart from the usual pregnancy worries, mothers-to-be are worrying about COVID, too. Conversations concerning pregnancy and COVID often include mommies-to-be asking, “What if I get COVID? Will it affect my baby?” and other frequently asked questions.
If you are pregnant during the pandemic, worrying is natural, but empowering yourself with knowledge can help subdue your anxious thoughts. Here’s what you need to know.
“I’m Pregnant. Am I at a Higher Risk for COVID-19?”
Pregnant women do not have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. However, you are more likely to contract a severe case of COVID in case you get sick. You are also at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms 42 days after birth. Pregnant mothers who are sick with COVID-19 often need treatment in an intensive care unit or require the assistance of a ventilator to help with breathing.
Finally, you are also at higher risk of premature delivery if you get COVID-19. You might end up delivering your baby earlier than 37 weeks and the child might be at risk for poor pregnancy outcomes.
Other factors that can increase your risk of getting severely ill are:
- Health conditions like diabetes and obesity
- Economic, social and health inequalities
“If I Contract COVID-19, Will My Baby Have It Too?”
It is still unsure as to whether mothers-to-be can transmit the virus to their unborn or newborn child. But according to a few reports, some newborns have tested positive for COVID-19. Still, this doesn’t confirm that they contracted the virus in their mother’s womb. The most common way to catch COVID is through droplets from a sick person’s sneeze or cough.
According to experts, newborns sick with COVID-19 have most likely picked up the virus from their mother or caregiver.
“Can I Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 Even If I’m Pregnant?”
Yes! According to experts, COVID-19 vaccines do not increase your risk for serious side effects. It is also OK to get vaccinated if you’re breastfeeding.
Like other people, you might experience mild side effects after your vaccination, especially if you get two-dose vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer. If you experience a fever after vaccination, call your doctor immediately. A prolonged fever might affect your pregnancy.
“How Do I Proceed with Labor and Delivery During the Pandemic?”
If you are COVID-free as you near your delivery date, some aspects of the labor and birth can proceed as planned or as usual. However, prepare yourself for some changes.
If you are scheduled for a C-section or a labor induction, you and your companion will be tested for COVID-19 before you arrive at the hospital. You might be tested before entering the delivery and labor unit. If you test positive for COVID-19, the doctor might re-schedule your C-section or induction.
To protect mothers and their unborn babies, some healthcare institutions limit the number of people allowed in the room during labor and delivery. Not everyone can visit you after you’ve given birth, too. Also, during your hospitalizations, you and your allowed companion might be required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing.
If you are testing for your COVID testing results or are positive for COVID, always wear a cloth face mask and clean your hands when caring for your baby. Hospitals allow keeping your child’s crib by your bed, but it’s best to still maintain a reasonable distance from the baby. Doing so reduces the risk of your child contracting COVID-19.
“I Feel Anxious About Giving Birth During the Pandemic. How Can I Cope?”
Being pregnant during the pandemic is an extra stressful time due to the uncertainties of the situation. Having a birth plan in place might help ease your anxious feelings; however, you must also accept that change is inevitable. Your birth plan should include point persons when labor begins and the person who will accompany you. Also, find out if your chosen hospital has restrictions for family or support people.
Relaxation can help you with your anxiety. Stretches and breathing exercises can calm your mind, as well as call your friends and family. Sleep well and focus on caring for yourself and your child. We may be in difficult times, but try your best to enjoy your pregnancy.
COVID-19 need not negatively impact the joy of your pregnancy. By getting vaccinated and practicing safety precautions, you can ease your mind of worry and anticipate your bundle of joy.