Being pregnant during Covid-19: this is how I’m protecting myself and my baby

Pregnant woman (PHOTO: Getty images)
Pregnant woman (PHOTO: Getty images)

Three weeks ago, I felt weak just before I went on the school run to drop off our toddler.  I was throwing up.  I managed to get her to school and her school principal was kind enough to take me to the nearby medical centre. There, I was diagnosed with viral gastroenteritis.

While generally there is not much a person can take when they have gastro, it is likely worse when you are pregnant. The doctor sent me home with a sick note and told me to drink apple juice in small sips, eat dry bread and she also gave me something for the nausea. Two days later I went back to her because diarrhoea had set in. She said, “Sorry, there is nothing else I can give you. Continue resting at home and it should wear off over the next few days. Just make sure you keep hydrated.” And that was it. 

Read more: Coronavirus while pregnant or giving birth: here’s what you need to know

Being pregnant can be quite a daunting experience, now try being pregnant during a global virus outbreak – it can be one of the most stress-inducing experiences.

When you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and sick, there is normally not much doctors can do for you. Most medication is not safe to use during pregnancy, so all pregnant women really have is Panado for any kind of pain or natural home remedies to get through a cold, flu or any other sickness.

This is what makes living through the coronavirus particularly scary for me – if I get sick, what can be done to elevate the symptoms for me?

Having gastro was scarier than it would have been had I not been a t risk – like everyone else – of getting coronavirus.

According to Healthline, during pregnancy, the immune system changes so it can protect both you and your baby from disease. Different parts of your immune system are enhanced while others are suppressed. This creates a balance that can prevent infection in the baby without compromising the health of the mother. I was so paranoid that I wondered if the suppressed parts would be the ones I’d need if I was infected and I instantly felt most vulnerable.

Read more: Coronavirus: what pregnant women need to know

After the national lockdown was announced, my aunt, who is a nurse, called her son who lives with my grandmother urging him to be the one who goes out to get any needed household items to avoid putting my gran at risk. Ten minutes later, she called my husband telling him the same.

I am generally a healthy person, I mean at my fittest I could run 10km in an hour, but because of the stage I am in right now, I do not want to take any chances.

So, what precautions have I taken as a pregnant woman during the Covid-19 outbreak?

  1. I have not been out of the house in weeks, not even for visits with my midwife. 
  2. I have educated myself on Covid-19 and kept up to date with the ongoing research about its effects on children and pregnant women.
  3. I rely on my family for things I cannot do, like shopping.
  4. My husband and I practise general hygiene and I wash my hands often.
  5. I keep physically active to ensure good physical health.

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