It’s impossible to escape news of the coronavirus, or COVID-19 these days. The media has been warning people to keep 14 days’ worth of food. There are warnings of a pandemic. And if you’re an already anxious pregnant after loss mom, it won’t be surprising if the news surrounding this virus sends you into panic attacks.
So, let’s take a deep breath, and remember what steps we can take to avoid getting sick – and make sure we’re getting the right information from the right professionals, experts instead of people who are trying to profit off your fear.
First of all, here’s what you can do to stay informed.
Find your local public health agency and get your information from them. Public health agencies are responsible for staying abreast of what viruses and other contagious diseases are circulating in the local area, so they are your best source of information for whether coronavirus is a real risk to you.
If you want to know whether there are particular concerns for pregnant women, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has a Practice Advisory for Coronavirus. As of this time, there aren’t enough cases of pregnant women who have contracted COVID-19 (the name for the illness) to say anything with certainty. However, knowing that pregnant women have compromised immune systems, and knowing that they are more likely to develop severe symptoms compared with women of the same age who are not pregnant, the ACOG is calling for precaution.
Speaking of this, have you got your flu shot yet? If you haven’t, it isn’t too late. There are far more cases of the flu than coronavirus, and pregnant women are at higher risk of developing flu complications. Make sure you take this necessary step to protect your health!
Beyond a vaccination, if one becomes available, your best defense against illness is simply washing your hands.
With soap if possible, and with hand sanitizer when it isn’t possible. Wash before eating or preparing food. Wash after using the bathroom. Watch this video from the CDC for their handwashing recommendations.
If you are feeling well, there is no need to wear a mask. If you aren’t feeling well, you may wear a mask to limit the spread of droplets and cough into your elbow. If you are sick, stay home. Call your doctor’s office before you visit to let them know if you have a cough or fever.
It has been a long time since quarantines were used regularly to limit the spread of illness, but my mother and her siblings were on quarantine a lot. Their father was the Chief Medical Officer of Health, so he was responsible for administrating and ordering quarantines. Scarlet fever, polio, measles, chickenpox, even smallpox (He diagnosed the last case in Canada in 1962 when my uncle was just six weeks old, too young to be vaccinated). We’re so fortunate that vaccines keep us protected from these illnesses, but it is easy to forget how they spread.
For now, all we can do is follow the advice of your local public health agency and wash your hands!
Other reliable sources for information:
- CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- WHO – World Health Organization
- Find your local public health agency
More information specifically on coronavirus and pregnant and nursing mothers:
- What Pregnant Women Should Know about Coronavirus from the New York Times.
- Coronavirus: What pregnant and breastfeeding moms need to know from Motherly
- Coronavirus in Pregnancy & Infants | What your ObGyn NEEDS you to know about COVID-19 video from Mama Doctor Jones