The COVID, or coronavirus, pandemic is a hot-top no matter where you look. While toilet paper might be a big concern for many families, and at-risk populations may fear the severity of the disease, let’s talk about some practical things you can do to when pregnant to prevent COVID from stressing your pregnancy and birth.
NOURISH YOUR BODY TO PREVENT COVID IN PREGNANCY
As with all things, your healthy balanced food is what provides your body with the necessary nutrients for full body function (and nourishing your baby), and prevent illness.
Stock your kitchen with nutrient-rich, immune-boosting foods like:
- Organic Orange & Yellow Fruits & Vegetables: Lemons, Oranges, Squash, Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Peppers, Starfruit, Papaya, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin and similar
These foods are rich in Vitamins A and C, the natural kind which means they aren’t taxing to the liver and are more bioavailable. Organic fruits help you avoid toxic pesticides that make your immune system work harder. These foods also help strengthen your amniotic sac to help prevent early rupture of the membranes, and prevent bacterial growth.
A reminder about sweet fruits and vegetables… as long as they’re balanced with plenty of healthy fat and protein, you can eat until your hearts content.
- Nettles & Dark Leafy Greens
Nettles are a powerful wild food rich with vitamins and minerals which not only help to eliminate toxins and build a healthy blood supply, but also helps your liver to process toxins more easily. Other dark leafy greens have similar effects, though not as rich in nutrients as nettles. Nettles also has a decent amount of plant-based protein when added to soups or omelets in whole-food form.
- Garlic & Onion
Garlic and onion are super tasty, and also help to balance bacteria in the body and rid the body of toxins to build an overall balanced immune system. Cook with them, cook just them, or pickle them and change up the flavor a bit. I love sautéed onions, and the field garlic and wild onions are becoming abundant right now. So tasty with a little bit of day lily greens or chickweed pesto.
KNOW HERBS TO REMEDY SIGNS OF ILLNESS FROM COVID IN PREGNANCY
First, I want to say in this section that what I'm listing here are only commonly questioned herbs, ones that are easily accessible, and some that are sometimes over-used. I'm listing these just as a simple informational sharing opportunity, but working with an herbalist will provide you with many more medicinal plant options that can soothe symptoms and relieve time length of illness.
Viola odorata, the purple violet you see in spring, is starting to pop up in most places. This plant is a wonderful healing remedy for flu, fever, and cold. It is high in Vitamin C. The flower has a sweet and spicy flavor that makes a beautiful spring salad or quiet flavor in a smoothie. The leaves can be used to make a healing tea wonderful for all ages. If you have access to any grassy space, you might be able to easily pick your own violets, just be sure you're picking in a pesticide/unwanted chemical and animal feces-free space.
Elderberry is a well-known flu-remedy. It is known to reduce symptoms and overall length of the flu. It is a waste to take this as a preventative, really. It's expensive, somewhat hard to get a hold of at this time, and better utilized once you start feeling signs of the flu. Some are concerned about its possible effects on stimulating the immune system so much it creates a cytocine storm; however, elderberry is actually an immunomodulator that balances the immune system and very nutritive to boost the body's nutritional stores. I would recommend staying away from highly-sweetened elderberry products, however, because sweeteners are inflammatory and you lose a lot of benefits by overloading with added sugar at a time of illness. This time of year, if you have an elderberry plant of your own, the flowers can be used to support the system in respiratory illness and flu, and to stimulate sweating to release toxins. Don't use the stems or bark of this plant, of course, and as always, be wise about the amount of medicinal herbs you consume.
Echinacea is another well-known immune-boosting remedy. However, I want to point out that studies show it is really only valuable at the first signs of illness such as fatigue and sniffling. As soon as it progresses beyond this, switch to something else. Likewise, it is wasteful to use this over-used plant as a preventative. Native plots are practically non-existent due to its overuse, and cultivated plants aren't as highly medicinal as wild ones. It is also important to AVOID echinacea when it is blended with goldenseal. Goldenseal is a very strong antibacterial. It has many wonderful uses, but it is very hard on the bacterial balance in the body and is not practical for viruses. This is also an at-risk plant that should be used wisely only as needed.
PRACTICE COMMON SENSE HYGIENE TO PREVENT COVID IN PREGNANCY
- Don’t touch your face
- Wash your hands often. Even if it’s just water because the act of rubbing does so much more than any antibacterial soap.
- Use barriers to open doors, like a hand towel
- Wear a cute (or simple) face mask to help reduce the chance of breathing in particles that may linger on for hours
GO DIGITAL TO PREVENT COVID IN PREGNANCY
- Avoid crowded places
- Reduce the events you’re attending in-person and opt-in for web-based interaction when needed for things like Online Birth Classes, Breastfeeding Support, or even church, friend socializing, or family get-togethers
- Shop online for groceries. Utilize “ugly-produce” markets, online pantries, and your local grocery pick-up or delivery options.
CONSIDER A HOME BIRTH TO PREVENT COVID IN PREGNANCY
A hospital is a place filled with germs, even without a pandemic. Driving to and from appointments, sitting in waiting rooms, and getting out of the house with more siblings at home can be taxing on the system. Many home birth midwives will provide in-home prenatal care, and some will even offer web-based visits while educating you on how to provide your own self-prenatal care.
Many hospitals are restricting their maternity units to online one support person at a time, making mothers choose between their significant other, and their doula, or opting out of their desired birth team in some way. At home, you get to choose who enters your space.
Not sure if home birth is right for you? The Why Not Home? documentary is a conservative look at the safety of home birth and why many medical providers are choosing to birth at home for the health and happiness of their family.
Be prepared for birth when it doesn’t go as planned, which includes birthing unassisted at home. Even if this isn’t a choice you would make, having this knowledge helps to dispel a tremendous amount of fear which improves the health of your birth no matter where that happens.
RELEASE STRESS TO PREVENT COVID IN PREGNANCY
Stress makes pregnancy hormones bounce all over the place. Stress makes it more difficult for your body to release toxins and fight off viruses and bacteria. Be sure you're receiving plenty of rest, as-needed, throughout the day as well as opportunities for self-care. A walk in the woods is an excellent option to be in the fresh air, sunshine, and away from the crowds.
Take a deep breath.
Remind yourself that your body is made to be protective and to heal.
Smile at the sunshine and wrap love around your womb.
Blessings on a beautiful birth, and reach out if you'd like to chat about more options for a happy healthy birth.