For our Willow Tree Family….
The current coverage around COVID-19 has elicited many different emotions in all of you. The unknown is a scary thing, especially when we have young children to care for in this world.
We want to share with you some of the current information that is available surrounding pregnant women, infant, and young children as you make decisions for you and your family.
Remember, that due to physiological changes, pregnant women tend to be more susceptible to viral infection than the average adult simply because of reduced lung capacity and immunologic changes in their body. Just as you would take extra caution to avoid any illness in pregnancy, treat COVID-19 the same way and use preventative actions such as washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick.
COVID-19 is spread person-to-person mainly through respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. In limited studies of COVID-19 as well as SARS-CoV (which is another coronavirus infection), the virus has not been detected in breastmilk; however in studies done of SARS-CoV, the antibodies have been detected in breastmilk. So continue to breastfeed or feed expressed breastmilk to those babies and, if you feel ill, take precautions avoid spreading the virus to your infant (such as covering your mouth and washing your hands), just as you would do if you had the flu or other illness.
Some good news as well is that there is no evidence that children are more susceptible to this virus than adults. In fact, in the reported cases, children with confirmed COVID-19 tend to have mild symptoms. More severe complications in children are uncommon.
When talking to your children about COVID-19,
Stay calm and reassuring: Children look to their caregivers to determine how to react to a situation. If you remain calm and reassuring, they are more likely to do the same.
Be available to listen and talk: Let your children know that they can come to you if they have questions. Provide accurate information to your children who may be hearing things from their friends at school.
Avoid language that might lead to stigma: People can get sick regardless of a person’s ethnicity or background.
Monitor exposure to media: Pay attention to what your child may be seeing on TV or hearing on the radio. Consider reducing screen time. Talk about how sometimes stories on social media may be based on rumors or inaccurate information.
Teach children what they can do to stop the spread of germs: Remind your child to sneeze or cough into their elbow. Wash hands after blowing noses and before eating food. Sing a song while you scrub your hands with soap and water.
Take care of yourself during this time and times like these as well. Anxiety is normal. Try to reduce your time watching or listening to distressing media, if possible. Connect with family and friends over the phone or internet. Get outside! If you are not attending any meetings in person, stay connected with your Willow Tree Family through social media and other means. If possible, take time for relaxation: naps, doing nothing, taking deep breaths. Practice talking to yourself calmly, just as you would to your own child.
SPECIAL RESOURCES FOR PREGNANT MOMS AND MOMS PREPARING FOR LABOR
Stay informed with updates from Aviva Romm, MD, a board certified, Yale-trained MD with a background in both internal and family medicine, who, while yes, practices natural medicine for women and children, has also studied and worked with some of the best infectious disease doctors in the world in over 5 years of training in medicine at Yale. Her website includes articles such as:
- An Intro to COVID-19
- COVID-19 Symptoms
- Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and COVID-19
- How to Talk to Kids About COVID-19
- COVID-19 if You Have Autoimmune Disease
Check out her PAGE HERE.
Doulas and Doula Support During Labor
At this time both locally and world-wide, hospital visitation policies are becoming quite restrictive. It's important to note that doulas and partners are not visitors. They are members of the health care team and their presence is critical to having safe birth outcomes. However, parents are becoming anxious about the possibility of their doulas being turned away from the hospital. Now is a good time to be proactive - discuss with your doula and your care-provider steps to take to prepare for your doula to recognized as a part of your health care team. Here are some resources that can help you:
- Birth Monopoly has an excellent article on this subject... I highly recommend absorbing the info there!
- EBB Instructor Jolynne Polichette posted a letter template for care providers to sign about doula support
- The American Association of Women's Health and Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses has issued a statement on this subject.
- DONA has also released a statement and information about Doulas in the hospital setting
Preparing for Labor
Besides the current recommendations of keeping space between yourself and those around you prior to labor and washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer (with 70% alcohol concentration), prepare for your labor as you normally would.
- Pack your bag - here is a suggested list from LAMAZE
- Prepare your partner - have your partner read and prepare what they can do to support the laboring mother
- Practice virtual support with your doula - meet with your doula via technology (i.e. zoom, facetime, or facebook messenger) - practice breathing and other techniques with your doula and your partner virtually in the event your doula is not in the room with you.
- Prepare for entering the hospital - many hospitals have only 1 or 2 entrances open, which may mean entering through the emergency room during labor. At triage, hospitals are directing anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to tents. This will keep you away from exposure.
- Prepare yourself to relax during labor - consider a hypnobabies class or listening to the free 30-min mp3 "Instantly Calm" available from hypnobabies on their website
- Fill your life with birthing affirmations - watch this youtube video on affirmations and practice saying them to yourself. Print some of your favorite birth affirmations and put them around your bedroom, on your bathroom mirror, and around your house. Practice saying them to yourself. Pack some to bring to your hospital room.
Even in uncertain times, your baby will come to you. Babies have been born for all of history. You are strong, and you can do this!
Galang, R. MD, MPH, & Woodworth, MD & MPH. (2020, March 12). Information for clinicians caring for children and pregnant women. In CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity series. Retrieved from https://emergency.cdc.gov/coca/