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JENNIFER DEGL

AUTHOR, SPEAKER, MATERNAL & NEONATAL HEALTH ADVOCATE

I’ve put together a list of resources that I have been able to find thus far that may help answer some of your questions regarding how the novel coronavirus affects pregnant/nursing moms and babies. The information is being updated by the minute as China and Hong Kong share their findings and as Italy works through their own pandemic.

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With all of the misinformation and out there surrounding the novel coronavirus, there are still many people with questions. Doctors and scientists don’t yet know enough about COVID-19 so accurate information is difficult to find. This leaves most populations of people with various health complications to fend for themselves. This includes our pregnant moms, nursing moms and families with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Pregnant moms and NICU parents are always on high alert and their stress levels can be through the roof when the mamma bear instinct kicks in. The addition of a highly contagious and possibly deadly virus can add a great deal of stress to a population of people who are emotionally vulnerable from the get go.

I’ve put together a list of resources that I have been able to find thus far that may help answer some of your questions regarding how the novel coronavirus affects pregnant/nursing moms and babies. The information is being updated by the minute as China and Hong Kong share their findings and as Italy works through their own pandemic.

How does COVID-19 affect pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Click HERE for information from the CDC (Center of Disease Control).

Click HERE for information from Harvard Health.

Click HERE for information from the March of Dimes.

How does COVID-19 affect children?

Click HERE for information from John Hopkins.

What is changing in the NICUs now that COVID-19 is spreading?

Most NICUs are adopting a 1 visitor per baby policy. While this seems awful it is meant to minimize your baby’s exposure to the virus. This policy protects your baby and others. Contact your NICU to see if your policy has changed.

If yes, Grandparents, relatives and friends can see videos and photos of your baby to keep them in the loop and like they are involved. Many online messaging sites are available to help. Give Facebook a try. A phone icon appears on the top right of the screen when you click on the person you want to call. WhatsApp is a great option for messaging (free) people in different countries and they have a phone call and video calling option as well. iphones have Facetime. Androids don’t have Facetime, but click HERE to see what online video and phone options available to Android users. You can always use conference call apps as well including Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, and Go to Meeting. Click HERE to see some of those options. Be sure to ask the nurses if you can take a video before starting as some HIPAA regulations can be broken when another baby or their medical information is visible.

You can also start a blog to share your baby’s progress and invite all family and friends to follow you. You can also use the tried and true way of mass communicating and create a group text message chain.

Is there a cure or a vaccine for novel coronavirus?

No cure and maybe vaccine.

“The smallpox vaccine worked so well that we completely eradicated the disease from the planet,” says Dr. Brown. “But our yearly influenza vaccines are only about 50-60% effective at best. They don’t work against all the influenza out there, and they need to be given every year.” And at this point, there’s no way to tell which category a possible coronavirus vaccine would fall under.” Click HERE to read the full article from Health.com

Where can I go for support?

Most hospitals and neonatal units have social workers that will be available to help you process all that has been going on. Most larger NICUs have peer-to-peer support and mentoring services available as well. If yours does not or if they are not allowed to visit the hospital due to visitor restrictions, please see the following list of organizations that offer NICU parent mentoring and peer-to-peer support services. Reach out to one of them to see if they can support you remotely via phone or video. If they cannot, I am certain that they will refer you to an organization that can.

Maria’s Hope

Hand to Hold

NICU Helping Hands

Graham’s Foundation

Tiny Miracles Foundation

There are a lot of Facebook groups with parents who have or have had babies in the NICU. They are free to join. Here are a few that I value have joined, but there are others. Or, you can start your own!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/strongnicumoms/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/262109257292697/

We all need support right now. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help.

Let kindness and compassion win.

What can I do to prevent myself and my family from getting the novel coronavirus?

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Avoid crowds and indoor large gatherings

As information is changing by the minute, please share any additional valid information you find that is from a physician or scientist by tagging me on social media so that I can continue to update my list. I’m @jenniferdegl on most social media.

Again, please reach out to your healthcare professionals for medical advice and for current information on the novel coronavirus.

Thank you. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Stay Sane.