Who would have thought that the most beautiful thing that could ever happen to us will coincide with a historic global crisis in recent memory?
We always say that pregnancy and motherhood is hard enough. We try to prepare ourselves for the huge pile of struggles and challenges we have to face as mothers, but nothing could have prepared us for surviving a pandemic.
So what it's like to go through your pregnancy and to give birth during the COVID-19 pandemic and what are the things that we should do?
1. Take all the necessary precautions.
Stay home as much as you can. This is your first line of defense, to stay at home and stay safe. Reduce any possible contact. If you have to go out, wear a mask or face shield and make sure to stay at least six feet away from other people and regularly wash/sanitize your hands. Don't touch your face when you're outside. Go to your appointments and check-ups, but don't stress too much if you miss a couple.
2. Stay informed, but only follow legitimate and professional sources.
It will be extremely difficult to avoid having anxiety during this time. Make sure that you're only getting verified information and not hearsay. Follow CDC guidelines. Call your doctor to confirm details about your case, especially if you need to know if you can bring your partner with you during check-ups and during labor. Policies change and it's not the same everywhere, so make sure that you're getting the correct information and avoid the unnecessary panic and fear.
3. Follow your doctor's orders and hospital protocols.
This is very important. While we understand that none of this is ideal, none of this is what we have planned for ourselves and our babies, but the only way to ensure our safety and everyone around us is to follow the orders and protocols set by the health care workers and officials. Everyone is doing their best to make things bearable without sacrificing the health and lives of so many people. Always remember that in times like this, doing our part and cooperating is also for our family's best interests.
4. If you feel like you're having symptoms, call your healthcare provider and take necessary precautions.
Call first and follow hospital protocols. If you're advised to stay at home, make sure to self-quarantine and make arrangements on who can take care of your kids if it's impossible to self-quarantine with them at home. If you test positive, your doctor will be notified and will regularly keep in touch with you via telemedicine visit to make sure you are doing well.
5. Make a list and prepare the essentials that you need with you in case you have to give birth during the pandemic.
Confirm with your doctor and with the hospital if someone from your family can accompany you in the delivery room and if they can stay with you after giving birth. Ask what you should bring with you aside from your own hospital bag essentials. In most cases, births proceed as planned. If you and your new baby are well, getting discharged early may be encouraged.
6. We know it can be scary, but hang in there.
Whenever you feel like your anxiety is going through the roof, try to calm your mind. Take a few moments to just close your eyes, take deep breaths. Focus on your breathing, try counting from 1 to 10 to clear your mind. You can get through this. There are people supporting you and your doctor and healthcare workers are there to take good care of you. You are not alone in this.