It has been a long time since I've blogged anything! If you have been on the lookout for any posts from me, I just want to first apologize for the delay!
Today, I thought it would be important to discuss the current climate amidst the current outbreak of COVID-19 and how Virtuously B'Earthed Doula Services seeks to offer support during this time...but first...
WHAT IS COVID-19?!
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that is transmitted from one person to another. A person can be asymptomatic (without symptoms) and still pass the virus to another person. It is important to let your provider know if you are experiencing symptoms and get permission to visit any of the drive through testing centers throughout the region if you are experiencing any of the following: difficulty breathing, cough, or fever. You can find a fact sheet from the CDC regarding COVID-19 here.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME AND MY BABY?!
Right now, we know that pregnant women are not at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than the rest of the population. Because of the suppression of the immune system during pregnancy, I can understand the cause for concern. If you are COVID-19 positive, you cannot pass it to your baby in-utero because it does not cross the placental barrier. A vaginal birth is still very possible! If you plan on breastfeeding after baby makes it earthside, make sure you are taking the same precautions as everyone else and engaging in frequent handwashing and sanitizing, stay home, and limit visitors. If you are COVID-19 positive and breastfeeding, make sure you also wear a mask or a barrier on your face in addition to everything mentioned. You can find more information regarding COVID-19 and pregnancy here.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR LABOR SUPPORT?!
Labor support has taken a huge shift from face-to-face contact with clients and families to more of a virtual approach. Most hospitals in the St. Louis region has adopted a 1 or no visitor policy and the role of a doula in all of this is rapidly changing. As of today, here are the hospital policies in effect:
Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJC): For obstetric patients, they are only allowing 1 visitor and that visitor must remain at the side of the patient during the duration of the stay. So that means no cafeteria runs or waiting room access. I recommend packing enough snacks and food to last your partner. I am unsure of what that means when ordering food to the rooms--meaning are they going to allow your partner to order food and charge it to your room? That may be something you ask before heading to the hospital. You can find more information about their COVID-19 policies here.
Mercy Hospital: For visitors across the board, they are no longer allowing patients to have accompaniment to any appointments. However, in cases of parents without access to childcare, they are allowing children to accompany the parent. It is unclear what their policy is for obstetric patients specifically and the role of the doula, so you may need to ask the hospital or the birthing center for further details. You can find more information about their COVID-19 policies here.
St. Mary's Hospital: For visitors across all sites, they have temporarily suspended visitation. However, they recognize certain situations require visitation. For obstetric patients, they are allowing 1 visitor, with the permission of the nurse leader. You can find more information about their COVID-19 policies here.
Missouri Baptist Hospital: Visitation at MOBap follows the same guidelines as BJC, however, they are taking extraordinary circumstances into consideration. I suggest reaching out to your provider or the hospital for further details. You can find more information about their COVID-19 policies here.
In any case, you should pre-screen yourself before going to the hospital. Please let your provider or the facility know if you or your permitted visitor are having any of the following symptoms or meet this criteria:
Birthing in the era of COVID-19 has made a lot of families reevaluate how they plan for the birth of their baby. Since hospitals are tightening polices, here are a few suggestions:
HOW CAN I STAY HEALTHY DURING THIS TIME?!
As stated before, please continue to engage in frequent handwashing and sanitizing. Try to refrain from rubbing and touching your face and nose. SN: I don't think I realized how hard this was until now...LOL! Sanitize frequently used surfaces often. Start taking your shoes off once you enter the house. Limit your time outside. If you have to go out for any reason at all, make sure you are practicing social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet between you and the next person. If you receive any packages during this time, wipe them down with a sanitizing wipe and let it sit for at least 10 min before opening. You can find a link to a bunch of DIY disinfectant spray recipes here. We do know that COVID-19 can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours.
Nutritionally, make sure you and your family are staying well hydrated. As a pregnant person, you should be drinking at least 80-100 oz of water daily. Your family should be drinking at least 64-80 oz of water a day! Being hydrated will help flush illness out of the body. Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula, etc. Increase your protein intake. Some good foods high in protein are lentils (18 g/one cup), chicken breast (53 g/8oz), broccoli (3 g/one cup), tuna (27 g/one can), etc. You can find several other foods and their protein content here. Limit the amount of processed foods and sugar you eat as this can aid in weakening the immune system due to lack of nutritional value. Cook at home as much as possible. Please remember to continue to take your vitamins. If you haven't already, please get WIC! Visit or call your local WIC office to see what they are doing in order to make sure you're still able to pick up vouchers and the changes they've made to the food packages to accommodate food shortages. You can find a downloadable copy of WIC office locations for St. Louis City and County here from Mercy Neighborhood Ministries. WIC is one of the best ways to be able to supplement your nutrition by curbing some of the costs. The goal in all of this is to start building a healthy immune system.
If you start to feel sick, it is known that heat weakens this virus. In addition to everything listed, you can stand in a hot shower or give yourself a facial by taking a bowl with hot water, placing your face over it, and covering your head with a towel to trap in the heat. You can also drink teas such as chamomile and green tea and really breathe in the steam by taking deep, cleansing breaths.
I will you peace and good health now and always! Stay safe. Stay healthy.