A different world during a pandemic
Everyone is feeling overwhelmed and confused. It’s no wonder – information is coming in quickly as those in power attempt to mitigate the effects this pandemic will have on our community and the world at large. Add pregnancy into the mix, and it feels like there’s even more on the line. I will attempt to answer some FAQs in this uncertain time, with a local focus. As with everything, the routines and procedures will likely evolve within hours of this post going live. Definitely reach out if you have any concerns and I will work diligently to keep this piece updated as new questions or news updates become available.
Pregnancy related FAQs
Hello Babe classes have been canceled, where can I go for birth class now?
There are several online options available. While there are pros and cons of opting for an online course – at times like these, having an online class is better than no class. The following are some options I found with a google search:
Love Your Birth – This 10 module course is taught by a certified nurse midwife. Each module gives a detailed description of what is covered.
Kopa Birth is taught by a nurse and Lamaze birth instructor. If you’re interested in a natural birth, this course may be for you.
Hypnobabies – The site is a little dated, but is full of info and the self study course is perfect for our current situation where social distancing is the norm.
Another option is to youtube search “birth class”
*I am happy to coordinate with anyone looking for a local birth class either through video chatting or over the phone*
I’m not expecting until this summer, should I still be concerned?
The pandemic is predicted to potentially last through the summer. According to the AP, best case scenario is that this lasts for 12-18 months. If you are pregnant now, assume that your pregnancy and birth experience will be impacted by Covid-19.
If someone is exposed to a person who is known to have Covid-19, how long should they consider themselves contagious?
According to WHO, the incubation period for the virus is 14 days, with most showing symptoms by day 5. If you are not showing symptoms by day 15, it is likely that you didn’t catch the virus. However, social distancing practices should remain in place.
What precautions are OB/GYN offices putting in place? Are they reducing the number of appointments on a given day, for example?
According to their website, patients will be screened upon entering, are encouraged to limit accompanying support people, and refrain from having those with respiratory symptoms accompany you to appointments.
If we’re considered essential workers, should we continue working?
As this is a unique virus, studies are very limited at this time. However, the general consensus is that pregnant people are not any more susceptible to the virus than others. So the recommendation, specifically for health care workers, is to continue working, taking all precautions that everyone should be taken up to 28 weeks gestation and if there are no other underlying health conditions. (Royal College of Obstetrics was the only place I could find current recommendations.) After 28 week gestation, it is recommended that face-to-face interactions with patients be avoided.
In a small study (all that is possible at this point), of pregnant people, the virus was not found in any amniotic fluid at birth. The virus appears NOT to pass through breast milk either. (There is the risk of passing the virus through droplet transmission, to consider.)
What immune boosters are safe to take when pregnant/breastfeeding?
Immunity boosting foods such as citrus fruit, garlic, ginger, brocoli, turmeric, yogurt and others are all a good idea. Immune boosting supplements like EmergenC may not be recommended due to its Vitamin C level. If this is combined with a prenatal, it could be too much vitamin C.
If you’re looking for other immune boosting ideas include exercise, drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of rest, and laughing.
Birth related FAQs
What changes have been made to the support person rules at the hospital?
CVPH changed its labor support policy in response to the pandemic. They now officially only allow one support person (typically the birthing person’s partner) during birth. They also encourage everyone to bring everything they need when they come into the hospital. Both people will be screened upon entry. If someone leaves (for example, you remember you left something in the car and you would like your partner to go retrieve it …) they will not be permitted to reenter the labor and delivery floor. So be sure sure to get everything you could need when you go into the hospital. When asked if a doula would be permitted, the official policy is one support person – so if you have a partner, you cannot have a doula. However, the way this was conveyed made me think there could be some flexibility, so worth having a conversation with your provider if this is important to you. Another option would be to have additional support video conferenced in to your birthing space.
What changes have been made to the visitation rules at the hospital?
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no visitation at the hospital. While this is not ideal and likely not what you imagined, keep in mind that we live in a time where video chatting is an option. In addition, typically families return home within 24-48 hours.
If this gets worse, is there a chance that the one support person rule would become stricter? ie no support person permitted at all.
There is no talk about this yet. It’s a good question, because so many restrictions that we couldn’t imagine being put in place, are now the rule. However, this hopefully will not be initiated. Here’s my reasoning – partners have presumably already been living with the birthing person. So if one partner has it, the other likely already does too. This works more effectively if everyone is remaining isolated in their homes.
Apparently things have changed already. There are hospitals in the NYC region that are not allowing partners into the labor room with mothers. Again, if you’re curious about home birth options given this development, reach out to the midwives in the area. I am also happy to answer questions.
Is there an alternative to giving birth at the hospital? I’m scared to go!
There’s always an alternative. There is no law that birth has to happen in a hospital. While hospitals do all that can humanely be done to keep illness from birthing families, the reality is that the hospital is where very ill, injured, or birthing people go. In the North Country there are a limited number of home birth midwives and they routinely have very full calendars. If you are considering a home birth, it’s wise to get in touch with the midwife options as soon as possible (Sage Femme, Safe Passage Midwifery, and Midwife Sunday).
Alternatively, some families feel safer to free birth, perhaps especially during a pandemic. For more information on free birth, see here, here, and here.
Please note: birth choices are very personal and require that both parents research, come to a consensus on, and take responsibility for.
Bonus: Breastfeeding questions
Reach out to Danielle who is offering an online pumping class on Sunday, March 29th and an online breastfeeding class on April 11th.
And as always, the lactation consultants at CVPH are available by phone at 518-562-7142