Pregnancy is an adventure rich in emotions. It is legitimate to feel concerned about your health and that of your baby, especially in these times of COVID-19. Learn what you can do to stay healthy during your pregnancy and when you come home with your baby.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
According to Canadian health officials, pregnant women do not appear to be more at risk of complications from COVID-19 than other people. However, because there is much we still do not know about this disease, you should follow all recommended measures to reduce your risk of contracting the virus.
Limit your contact with people outside your household. Take advantage of social media and videoconferencing applications to stay in touch with extended family and friends. If you can work from home, do so.
When you go out in public, follow all sanitary precautions to reduce the risk of contracting the virus: wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands often. These measures have the added benefit of reducing your risk of contracting other viral illnesses such as colds, the flu, or the stomach flu.
Keep all your medical appointments
Medical appointments are important to make sure your pregnancy progresses normally. Hospitals and birth centres have procedures in place to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. You may not need to go to your health care professional’s office for all visits, however. Ask if some appointments can be done over the phone or via videoconference.
When the time comes to deliver your baby, hospitals and birth centres have strict protocols to protect you and your baby during your stay. Inquire about these ahead of time to prepare your birth plan accordingly.
Going home with baby
After birth, stay home with your baby, except for medical appointments. As during your pregnancy, some appointments will require you to meet with your physician (for your baby’s shots, for example), but others may be done over the phone.
Even though friends and family members will want to meet your baby, avoid visitors to your home as much as possible. Instead, use social media and videoconference apps to introduce your baby.
When possible, breastfeeding is recommended because it protects your baby against many infections and illnesses. The virus that causes COVID-19 does not appear to be transmitted during nursing. Women who have COVID-19 can nurse their baby.
Here are some tips to help you adjust to life with your new baby:
- Parenting is always challenging, but it can be even more so when your support system cannot be as close as it would have typically been. Call or text your family, friends or community supports if you feel overwhelmed. They can help even from a distance.
- Take advantage of no-contact delivery services or ask family members or friends to help with errands and meal preparation.
- Make sure that anyone who comes into your house follows strict hygiene measures (washing hands, physical distancing). As an extra precaution, you can ask them to wear a mask.
- You don’t have to wear a mask when you hold your baby in your arms, unless you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with the virus.
- Never put a mask or cloth face coverings on babies or toddlers as this could be a choking hazard.
- If you plan on buying used baby equipment, make sure to disinfect all surfaces with recommended products. You can find a list here. If you need to rent equipment (for example, a breast pump), make sure there is a disinfecting protocol in place.
Your pharmacist can help at all stages
Your pharmacist is a trusted health care professional that can help you during and after your pregnancy. They can recommend treatments to alleviate minor pregnancy-related ailments, help you with breastfeeding, and offer no-contact home delivery of medications or baby essentials. They can also coordinate the renewal dates of medications so that you can pick them all up (or have them delivered) all at once, for every member of your household. COVID-19 or not, having a new baby can be very challenging both physically and emotionally. Don’t hesitate to ask for help!