Pregnancy during a pandemic
Pregnancy during COVID-19

Pregnancy and welcoming your newborn are events filled with emotion. Happiness and anxiety co-exist for 9 months, but during a pandemic, some fears can be amplified and transform good times into more difficult experiences. Pregnant women during a pandemic must be courageous and surround themselves in positive things if they want to fully enjoy this beautiful adventure.

Since this is a new virus, there is very little data regarding the impacts of the COVID-19 on pregnant women and the fetus. The first studies seem to say that pregnant women are not more inclined to catch the COVID-19 than the rest of the population; however, because their immune system is more fragile, they must be even more careful to avoid getting sick. Certain medications are not recommended during pregnancies, so it could be harder to treat sickness without harming the fetus in the event of complications.

Protection is essential

To reduce the possibilities of contracting the virus, pregnant women must stay at home as much as possible. If it’s necessary to go out, protection is essential. Therefore, frequent handwashing, wearing a mask, and social distancing remain the best allies of pregnant women. Moreover, the Government of Quebec recommends that parents don’t send their kids to daycare for now.

Pregnancy check-ups

Prenatal visits are crucial to ensure a good health, for both the mother and the fetus. Pregnancy check-ups are therefore allowed in Quebec, but some appointments could be spaced apart and, if everything is going well, others can be held via a phone call or a video call. Ultrasounds between 11 and 13 weeks and 20 and 22 weeks are prioritized because they are important for the normal development of the fetus. For now, to control the spread of the virus, it is not possible to be accompanied for check-up appointments. Don’t forget that every woman is unique, and every pregnancy is different. An appropriate follow-up will be suggested and mostly, trust your doctor. Discuss your fears, your anxiety, and your concerns with them; they are here to help!

Stay active and eat well

Whether during a pandemic or not, it is essential during a pregnancy to only focus on things you can control, such as physical fitness, food, and sleep. The first quarter is often more difficult for many women because they feel very tired and morning sickness is at its peak. It is important to rest well. A diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are crucial to allow you to maintain a healthy immune system. Eating fruits and vegetables and taking prenatal vitamins are strongly recommended.

While eating well won’t protect you against the virus, it has been proven that a lack of sleep and malnutrition can weaken the immune system. Your diet doesn’t have to be restrictive to stay healthy: a balanced diet is the key. First, you must try to steer away from some bad habits, like chips, baked goods, and soft drinks. Replace these with fresh fruits, vegetables, foods high in fibre, legumes, and fish.

On top of eating well, get moving! Being active during the pregnancy will allow any future mom to stay in shape, which will help during the pregnancy and the postpartum period. There are a lot of exercises that are adapted for pregnant women, and many professionals are specialized in prenatal care. Also, remember to also take care of your mental health. Avoid all stress and anxiety sources. Mediation, yoga and breathing techniques can be very beneficial.

Small griefs

Before getting pregnant, future mothers have many expectations related to their pregnancy. Sadly, the pandemic and lockdowns will disrupt these plans, causing small griefs in its wake. For some future moms, not having a baby shower with their friends and family will be a disappointment. For others, it will be going alone to ultrasounds and check-ups. Prenatal classes, birth plan, birth: you must rethink everything. You will need to adapt to the situation in due course. Everything changes quickly; accept the fact that you may not experience your pregnancy as you had imagined it!

Joanie Chartand is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.

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