Since the first quarter of this year, millions of parents have been faced with the challenge of giving birth in the middle of a pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic was first identified in December 2019 and is still ongoing. The coronavirus disease can be mild or extreme and if you’re pregnant, you should be extra cautious. You want to avoid anything that can be harmful to you and to the baby in your womb. Do you feel prepared to give birth during the COVID-19 pandemic?
When thinking of random concerns and imagining probable scenarios during a pregnancy, one doesn’t expect to give birth during a pandemic. In fact, it probably never crossed your mind if you were pregnant before the pandemic started. However, the reality of the situation is that COVID-19 is everywhere and you will have to bring your little one into this world with a few more challenges than normal.
Make it a point to be in constant communication with your healthcare provider. Don’t hesitate to message them for any concerns and queries. Practices and protocols vary from hospital to hospital so researching on your own may lead to inaccurate information. It’s better to get your answers from the source. Feel free to ask about their current safety measures and restrictions for the delivery. If you have any worries, share it with them as well. They will be able to handle and explain things properly for your peace of mind. Thankfully, you are not the only woman who needs to give birth during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the trained medical staff should already have a plan in mind.
Limit Clinic Visits
The best way to protect yourself from the disease is by staying at home. You may schedule online consultations with your doctor to avoid having to go to their clinics. The likelihood that they offer these services is high since it’s in everyone’s best interest to protect you and the baby. Almost everyone is doing virtual consultations nowadays unless it’s an emergency case.
Only visit the clinic if you are required to be there physically. For prenatal care and tests, such as an abdominal ultrasound and other lab tests, try to coordinate with your healthcare provider if you can do them all in one visit as opposed to having a separate appointment for each one.
According to the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG), if you get Covid-19 while pregnant, “a high fever around 6 weeks of pregnancy or 4 weeks after the baby is conceived may be linked with a higher risk of problems with the spine and the brain. This is not specific to COVID-19 but comes with any reason for having a fever. The risk remains very low. Around 2 women for every 1000 women with a fever in early pregnancy may have a baby with that kind of problem compared to 1 woman for every 1000 pregnant women who did not have a fever early in pregnancy. An ultrasound examination at 18 to 22 weeks is recommended to check for these kinds of problems.”
After an infection, an ultrasound after 2 to 4 weeks is recommended to ensure that the baby is growing well. They also recommend regular ultrasound exams at least every 4 weeks throughout the pregnancy to check on the growth of the baby.
Limit News Consumption
Having access to a current stream of news could have negative effects. In addition to social and physical isolation, the news you hear could impact the state of your mental health. Ask someone to filter them for you, especially reports regarding Covid-19. Make sure that you get your information from credible and reliable sources only.
Pack Ahead of Time
As mentioned above, protocols differ for each institution and your companion may not be allowed to leave the delivery ward. The best thing to do is prepare your hospital bag ahead of time. Make sure everything you will be needing for the whole stay is packed. Aside from the essentials like clothes and toiletries, bring with you items that will improve your comfort such as an extra pillow or your favorite blanket. You’ll know when you’ve packed everything you need when you’re ready to leave anytime. By packing ahead, you won’t be stressing about anything else when it’s time to go to the hospital.
Know What to Expect
There may be additional safety steps for everyone’s safety when you deliver the baby. It’s important to know these things and be flexible with your birth plan. Compromise will be needed for a safe delivery. You and everyone in the room may need to wear a mask during delivery.
Visitors will not be allowed as well and you will need to update your loved ones virtually. Technology comes to the rescue during these times. Introduce your little one to family and friends through a video call.
It’s perfectly normal to feel disappointment at the current situation. You are allowed to feel sad that things are not going as planned or expected due to the pandemic. After taking a moment for yourself to accept disappointment, put your energy into preparing for the unseen factors. It’s okay to grieve as long as you get back up and face the situation with a brand new perspective and attitude. While it may be disappointing to give birth during the COVID-19 pandemic, getting to meet your baby will be worth it.
Amelia is part of the content team at The Long Reach and works for various international brands. When Amelia is not researching and writing she loves nothing more than heading out into the country for some downtime.