Pregnancy and motherhood can sometimes feel challenging. During a pandemic, it can be overwhelming! With so much information, it’s hard to know what’s what. As Registered Nurses, we are committed to providing you with evidence-based information, with a massive dose of empathy, because we are all mamas too! And some of us are right there along with you, expecting during a pandemic. So here is some information regarding managing pregnancy and motherhood during COVID-19:
COVID-19 is a new virus and we are still learning so much about it. There is currently no evidence that suggests pregnant women are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. There is also currently no evidence that a developing child could be negatively affected by COVID-19.
COVID-19 and Pregnancy
What we do know is that historically pregnant women have been more susceptible to viral respiratory infections. And COVID-19 is known to be passed through respiratory droplets. So, it is so important for pregnant mamas to take precautions in protecting themselves against the possibility of becoming ill. Many communities have reopened and moved into phase 3, but Health Canada still recommends that pregnant mamas:
- Stay home as much as possible, except for important medical appointments.
- Talk to your doctor, obstetrician or midwife about the possibility of telephone or video conference appointments.
- Avoid unnecessary visitors to your home.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Practice physical distancing. Keep a distance of at least two metres from others.
- Avoid crowded places and peak-hours and travel by public transit.
It’s important to also talk to your support persons about what support will look like after your baby is born. Are you comfortable with visitors? Will you stick to your social bubble? Do you have school-aged kids who will be returning to the classroom? Having these conversations now will help you feel more comfortable and prepared once your sweet baby arrives!
COVID-19 and Childbirth
There is currently no evidence of mother-to-child transmission through childbirth. If you are planning on a hospital birth, it’s important to review the policies they have in place. Most hospitals are currently allowing one support person and limited or no visitors. So, it is also important that your support person try and take precautions in protecting themselves against the possibility of becoming ill as well. The last thing a new mama needs is for her main support person to fall ill, and not be allowed to attend the birth.
If you have COVID-19, talk to your health care provider about your birth plan.
COVID-19 and Breastfeeding
COVID-19 is not believed to be transmitted through breast milk. Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of infection and illness throughout infancy and childhood. So, if you are able to, breastfeeding is recommended. If you have or may have COVID-19, you must isolate yourself in your home as much as possible; this includes practicing physical distancing in your home, with the only exception being the baby. You can stay together in the same room as your baby if preferred, especially during the establishment of breastfeeding and bonding. However, you should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to your baby, which includes:
- Wash your hands often, especially before and after touching your baby or your other children.
- If you are coughing and sneezing, wear a mask when handling your baby.
- Wash all surfaces prior to feeding baby. Ensure the environment around you is clean and disinfected with approved hard-surface disinfectants.
- Wash your baby’s hands often, they are constantly putting them in their mouths!
If you are too ill to breastfeed consider pumping and allowing a healthy family member to give your breastmilk via a bottle. Be sure to wash and sterilize pumping equipment carefully before and after each use.
COVID-19 and Social Distancing
We know that giving birth is usually a time for lots of visitors and family members to come over and celebrate with you! But it’s important to maintain social (and physical) distancing with your baby. You would never want to inadvertently expose yourself or others in your home to the virus.
Keep connected with family and friends via Skype or FaceTime. Let your loved ones drop off a hot meal or do your groceries! Join a local online mama group! And know that this is not forever!
I am a part of a group of Registered Nurse across North America and we are all rooting for you, mama! It can feel a bit overwhelming but know that we are always here to support you. We have shifted all of our services online, so virtual help is just a click away! Some Mama Coaches have resumed in-home visits – so check HERE to find a Mama Coach near you!
If you are looking for a prenatal class, prenatal feeding workshops, or a virtual mama/baby visit we have got you covered! Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding support is also readily available since many Public Breastfeeding Clinics are still closed. We offer virtual feeding assessments that can help you feel confident in feeding your baby!
Feel free to also sign up for our FREE online prenatal series which sends evidence-based information to your inbox once a week. You can sign up by clicking HERE.
We want to make sure you have consistent, quality support as we all move through COVID-19 together. We are here for you mama! Always Wishing you and your family health and happiness! You got this mama!