STOP. THE. MADNESS. Let’s talk in a really upfront way about Corona Virus and Pregnancy. We’ll cover the risks to pregnant women, how to prevent if and if you should be going out to buy masks:
First off — Hello, I’m Hilary. I’m the curly head behind Pulling Curls (and it’s podcast) and an L&D RN since 2001 (which means I’ve been a nurse through the Swine Flu, and a couple of decades of cold and flu season). I’d love it if you stuck with me and got great info like this for your whole pregnancy (I’ll certainly be sending out any updates as I get them):
I also did a whole podcast on what I’m feeling right now and learning to thrive in the Corona atmosphere.
A note on terminology: Corona Virus is the “common” name, but scientifically they call it COVID-19… just so you know. I will refer to it in both ways
Also, with things getting cancelled left and right (I did a whole post on what to do if your class got cancelled) — please use code PC10 to save 10% on my Online Prenatal Class for Couples. It’s always a great way to get prepared from the comfort of your home!
What we know about Pregnancy & the Corona Virus (COVID-19)
As a note: I would 100% talk to your provider about your particular circumstance and the Corona virus at your next appointment. Ask them things to watch for & if you’re more susceptible than others. Since they know you — and your health history, they are your best ally.
What we know: It seems to be very little, but from everything I read it seems like Corona Virus and the Flu are very similar (the Corona Virus being more problematic as far as I can tell).
- Pregnant woman, if they were to get the Covid-19 virus would be more susceptible to problems — just as they are with the flu.
- However, most people will get it — have something very similar to the flu and move on.
However, there really isn’t too much info on pregnancy and the Corona Virus, I suppose time will tell.
The most common complication with COVID-19 is that you would get pneumonia and have issues with that and getting oxygen to your body. Which again, is pretty rare!
What to do to prevent the Corona Virus if you’re pregnant:
It is exactly what you do during regular flu season. The CDC has a great page on prevention.
WASH. YOUR. HANDS
Honestly guys — this is what keeps transmission down. Go to a public place, don’t touch your face with your hands and then wash your hands when you’re home.
March 15 update: NO MORE GOING OUT! You, as a soon to be mother, know how important each human is, which means you need to practice social distancing. No leaving your house unless absolutely necessary!
- No playdates
- No lunch dates
- No meeting at the park
- I would send other family members to the grocery store, and limit times that people leave your house as much as you can (which means it’s better to eat home vs door dash, but you do what you can do)
- Limit working outside the home where possible (but clearly, you also have to take care of yourself and you family — so balance the two).
You don’t need antibacterial soap, but you do need an adequate amount of time of washing. I like to sing to happy birthday twice.
Tips for hand washing:
- Yes, get those large surfaces… but don’t forget:
- In between fingers
- Nailbeds (I just scratch mine in the palm of my hand for a refrain of “Happy Birthday”)
It would also be a time to increase your handwashing more frequently while at work (and increase the time — because I have to say most of us don’t do it long enough — myself included).
You can also use sanitizer if you so desire. It just uses alcohol to kill germs vs the manual action of washing your hands. I find it very drying if I use it frequently enough though. I have also found there have been shortages of sanitizer — so I just want to remind you that the manual washing with soap is just as good (if not better).
Continue doing important things like:
- Getting fresh air outside (just keeping social distancing rules of 6 ft from those who don’t live with you)
- Working out (don’t go crazy now, but move your body in ways that are healthy)
- Getting enough sleep
- Drinking enough water
- “Eating the Rainbow” — getting good nutrition is awesome during pregnancy & during cold/flu/corona season
- Take your prenatal vitamins as instructed
Quarantine the Sick
What do you do if someone in your household gets the Corona Virus? Same as you would with a regular flu. Quarantine them as much as possible. Increase your hand washing and healthy practices.
Encourage them to wash their hands, cough into their arm (some people call it a vampire cough, as you cough into the crook of your arm), and use kleenex which they throw away after use.
Consider using an antibacterial spray or wipe on heavily used items (remotes, doorknobs, light switches).
What to do if a Pregnant Woman Gets the Corona Virus
First off, quarantine yourself. That may mean that husband has to stay home from work to take care of the other kids.
March 20th update: Keep in mind that right now testing is taking 5 days to get back to us at the hospital, so you may just be a “suspected case” for a while. NO MATTER if you have it or you have the flu, the treatment and what to watch for is very similar.
I have a whole post on what pregnant woman should do with a cold, and the tips there are valuable and very similar to what you’d do in this situation.
Cliff notes: Stay hydrated, if you can safely take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) that can help with a fever (check with your provider on if Tylenol is safe for you)
Treatment of the Corona Virus in Pregnant Women
No specific antiviral has been shown helpful with the Corona Virus at this point. Meaning beyond Tylenol, there isn’t much anyone else can take either.
One of my favorite methods of treatment for a cough is a honey/lemon tea. Just squeeze in a half a lemon’s juice, and add a good amount of honey (to taste, I like a lot) to hot water. All aspects of this are good. Warm water can help ease throat pain/congestion. Honey and Lemon both can help with coughs and congestion as well!
You can read the symptoms of the Corona Virus here.
The #1 thing would be to STAY HYDRATED. If you’ve read my articles before, you know I’m a huge fan of hydration.
Some people have diarrhea with the virus and if that is the case, I would drink EVEN MORE. It’s SO important!
Risks to the Baby
If you were to have a very high fever during your first trimester it can be problematic for the baby — as it can with any fever or illness.
Make sure to stay VERY hydrated. Honestly, water is almost as good as anything else you could take at this point. It will flush the virus out of your system, and keep your lungs as healthy as possible. Have I harped on that point enough?
The main risk is that a respiratory issue could progress to problematic. If you find yourself with shortness of breath, wheezing that isn’t cleared with a cough, or breathing is hard/painful. Please seek assistance. Those with a previous health history of respiratory issues can be more susceptible to problems (things like vaping, smoking, asthma or other lung issues).
A lot of places have Corona Virus hotlines or offer teledoc appointments to keep people out of the hospital. Even if you can not get testing, the things we would recommend you do are the same.
Remember to not stress out. It is still most likely that you have something that is NOT Corona Virus!
Should Pregnant Women Stock Up on Masks?
NO. The CDC does NOT recommend masks as a form of prevention (scroll down, it literally says it on that page) unless you are in direct contact with someone with the virus aka, your toddler has it. It already seems like we are running out of masks in the general public.
The other problem with masks, is you might take it off and then put it back on and then you’re putting all those germs RIGHT next to your mouth.
Having nice fresh air is much better for you.
The one thing a masks DOES do is prevent you from touching your mouth with your hands. I’m personally horrible of this and I have to make a conscious effort to stop. If it’s a problem for you, something like a bandana would also help you from touching your mouth.
N-95 Respirators for Pregnant Women.
STOP. Have you guys ever worn one of these? First-off, you have to be fitted to get a tight enough fit (nurses are tested yearly). Also they are HARD to deal with. As it does filter your breath you are inhaling and exhaling harder with the mask on. It’s TIGHT on your face and we — as healthcare workers — ONLY use them when we are in DIRECT contact with someone we must be protected against.
Summary: They are a huge pain, stop wearing them unless directed to by a provider.
Breastfeeding Moms and the Corona Virus
If you’re healthy, that’s awesome. I would recommend keeping your baby home as much as possible (it’s cold/flu/RSV season so that’s recommended anyway).
However, the good news is that most of the information I have seen shows that babies and young children don’t have much of an issue with the Corona Virus. Yes, they could be sick — but it hasn’t proved to be problematic.
This article, while a bit alarming with all their rates — shows that no deaths were shown in kids under 10.
Most of the issues were people in their 70’s and 80’s — and that’s where you will see the high percentage numbers shown in the media.
If you were to have the Corona Virus continue to wash hands VERY frequently, keep breastfeeding as that will help your baby’s immunity and try not to get in their face as much as possible.
I have seen recommendations of wearing a mask while feeding, but as I said before — masks may become harder to find. You can always cover the baby with a blanket (a clean one) as you feed so if you were to cough or sneeze it wouldn’t get on them.
My friend Katie also has a super helpful article on the Corona Virus and Breastfeeding.
The worst thing to do with the Corona Virus
While day to day stressful events (that come and go) are good for your baby, prolonged stress is not. And this, is not a reason to be stressed out.
I repeat: it is not a reason to stress-out.
If you find yourself devouring many articles, consider saying some positive statements like:
- I and my baby are healthy
- I am grateful for my healthy body
Then, get up and do something else. Don’t read all the media attention this is getting it will only make things worse in your mind.
And that, my friends, is my take on the Corona Virus.
Drink more water, wash your hands.
Be positive and happy.
If you found this helpful, I’d love it if you stuck with me for the rest of your pregnancy: