by Martha Custis
When the Director of General Health in Portugal announced that all pregnant women were considered to be in a high risk category for the COVID-19 virus and should self-quarantine for 12 weeks, I cried a little. Pregnancy is a time of anxiety for even the most average of us — the anticipation of a new life and all the responsibilities that accompany it can stir even the calmest of people. Add in a world-wide pandemic of a highly contagious virus and you have the perfect storm.
Immediately vanished were all hopes of a gender reveal, baby shower, or even shopping trips with friends for nursery items. As a first time mum, I was overwhelmed with wondering how to keep myself and the little person growing inside of me safe from a virtually invisible contagion, while still managing to continue living a healthy life. However, I’ve adopted a few methods and practices which I have found to be immensely helpful, and which hopefully can be of use to others who are pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grocery Shopping While Pregnant During COVID-19
Grocery shopping is a necessity which I found can be easily managed by a simple routine: gloves, mask, grab, and wash. My partner and I always use a mask and gloves while shopping, and upon returning to our apartment, we remove our clothes and shoes at the door and change into clean items. We then wipe down every package from the store using paper towels and a simple spray disinfectant. We rinse and dry fruit and then wash prior to eating to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible. I repackage fresh meat and fish into clean receptacles and either freeze or use the same day. At first it can seem like a labor intensive process, but after a few times, it becomes quite easy and almost routine.
Buying Baby Supplies While Pregnant During COVID-19
Not being able to go to non-essential stores, I have had to purchase all the baby necessities I need online. This is convenient, but also poses a risk when the parcels arrive having passed through the hands of who knows how many people. I’ve found that the best remedy for this is to keep a tray by the door, which I ask the postal courier to place the items on. I then disinfect the exterior of the parcel and open it.
After examining the items to check for accuracy, I remove the tags of washable items and immediately place them in the washing machine. There is a definite drawback in the lack of ability to return items if I end up not using them etc., but in times like these I feel the rule of thumb “better safe than sorry” is the best to follow.
Cleaning Surfaces to Prevent COVID-19 During Pregnancy
Hand sanitizer or alcohol gel is a mainstay in my purse and a quick spritz after touching doors takes a minuscule amount of time, but provides an immense peace of mind. I’ve found the best way to stay calm is to keep a small supply of necessary items on hand without going overboard — a few masks in the glove box of the car, clean disposable bags or gloves in the pocket of your coat for touching dumpsters or any unexpected item are some examples of small things which provide a great benefit.
Finding a New Normal While Pregnant in the Pandemic
Being pregnant during a pandemic is not anything I would have imagined or hoped for, but the resilience I’ve discovered in myself and my partner are something I wouldn’t want to exchange. Life has become more simple and housebound, but overall I feel I’ve acquired skills that will be of massive benefit both now and in the future to come. The new normal will be quite different from anything we have lived before, but it is ours for the taking and we can make it the best we can.
Photo provided by author.