We all want to keep Mama and baby healthy.

By Rebecca Angel Baer
March 07, 2020
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pregnant woman in medical face mask gesturing stop
Credit: Prostock-Studio/Getty Images

As the number of cases of Coronavirus grows daily here in the States, fear of the unknown is increasing as well. There is a sense that anxiety is high for many of us. This is a new strand of the virus and there is so much that health officials simply do not know. What doctors and health officials do seem to feel certain about is that the highest risk individuals are the elderly, or those with pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems. Age is pretty straight-forward, but that second part, pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems, well that can include a wide range of people. It could range from those with diabetes, or asthma, or high blood pressure, and even expectant mothers, as ABC News’ Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Anniston said on GMA, “In general pregnant women are considered to be immune suppressed.” Southern Living spoke with Birmingham based OB/GYN, Dr. Sarah Aultman about what she’s telling her patients and she has three main points:

Wash Your Hands Correctly

“Women who are pregnant and planning on traveling need to be sure that they are washing their hands and not just using the little stuff you drop into your hands. You want to use actual hand washing for 20 seconds.”

Pick Airports Carefully When Traveling

“If you’re planning on traveling it’s better to not go through an international airport because if your trip is from Birmingham to Kentucky, you’re probably fine.” With the number of confirmed cases in the South still currently very low, traveling within those states with small numbers or no cases at all, is a fairly safe bet. And while Dr. Aultman doesn’t think anyone should panic yet, she understands that pregnant women especially will be cautious. Avoiding major international airports where you’d run the risk of crossing paths with people who’ve maybe travelled from a country or state with a high number of cases, is a proactive step you can take to minimize your exposure.

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Listen to Your Body

“I think if you want to be 100% safe and you’d be more anxious traveling than you would be staying home, then stay home. But just wash your hands.” Stress isn’t good for Mama or baby, so listen to your gut and eliminate any additional stressors, even if the stressor is a trip you planned to do the exact opposite. That babymoon to a resort? You know what, when this outbreak is under control in a few months, or even if it’s after the baby is born, call grandma to babysit and reschedule that trip. You’ll be able to fully relax.