Parents are likely experiencing a significant increase in pressure and concern while pregnant or caring for a newborn during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the situation continues to evolve, credible organizations are working tirelessly to provide the public with the most up-to-date information regarding necessary precautions and recommendations for pregnant women and new parents.
As outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO), pregnant women should take the same precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as the general population. You can help protect yourself by following these recommendations:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Keep space between yourselves and others and avoiding crowded areas.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Practice respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call before going to a health facility and follow the directions of your local health authority.
Pregnant women and women who have recently delivered should continue to attend their routine care appointments and be sure to check with your health care providers to see what precautions they are taking. Visits with your baby’s pediatrician are necessary for monitoring adequate weight gain and ensuring overall health through establishing ongoing care. Try to limit appointment attendees and take advantage of telemedicine appointments to minimize contact if applicable.
Feeding Your Baby
If baby is being breastfed, they are receiving enhanced protection through multiple and diverse immune factors in breast milk – remember that any amount of breast milk is beneficial for your baby! Because stress can significantly impact breast milk production, supplementation with expressed breast milk or formula may be necessary. Be gentle with yourself, nourishing your body as well as your baby’s as best as possible.
Family Support and Local Resources
With social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, receiving support from family members and friends is limited; however, there are many ways to ask for help within your circle and beyond. Here are some ways in which support can be provided:
- Give friends or family a list of items (or meals) needed that can be picked up locally or ordered online, be sure drop-off allows for the least amount of contact possible (i.e., leaving supplies in the driveway or on the porch)
- Coordinate calls with those close to your family to involve them in the birthing process or introduce your newborn virtually using FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype – get creative with their birth announcement!
- Reach out to the community for help – these organization can provide support for new parents or connect families with additional resources
- Lompoc Valley Medical Center – Lactation Services/Telephone Support: (805) 737-5712, or ask for an invitation to join our private, female-only LVMC Breastfeeding Mothers Support Group Facebook page.
- WIC Participant Support Line: (800) 852-5770
- La Leche League of Santa Barbara Warmline: (805) 270-3321
- Santa Barbara Postpartum Education for Parents Warmline: (805) 564-3888 (English)/(805) 852-1595 (Spanish)
- World Health Organization (WHO):
Q&A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding
- Center for Disease Control (CDC):
How to Keep Your Breast Pump Kit Clean: The Essentials
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
Tips for Coping with a New Baby during COVID-19
AUTHOR: Kayla Benado, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), is an LVMC Lactation Consultant. She earned her bachelor of science degree in Child and Family Development, with a minor in psychology, from San Diego State University. Kayla received her certificate in Lactation Consultant Education from the University of California, San Diego Extension. She has worked in a wide variety of hospital and education settings as a lactation consultant.