Women’s health during COVID-19

Are you pregnant and worried about the coronavirus? What about other women, should you postpone your annual exam? What things should we all be doing to stay healthy? We talked with two OB/GYNs on Facebook Live. Dr. Danica Larson and Dr. Vy Rossi answered our questions.

For moms that are expecting, it can be stressful to think about going to the hospital during a pandemic and having a baby.

“If a woman is in labor, she should feel really confident that we are welcoming patients to the hospital and we’re taking a high level of safety measures to keep her and her family safe,” said Dr. Rossi.

Moms that are in labor and need to come to the hospital will be screened on the phone and when they arrive. Most facilities are allowing one support person. You will need to check with your hospital and doctor as far as their specific policy for a support person and for visitors.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, click here for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines.

For other women, doctors recommend postponing routine appointments if you can, “There are some urgent conditions that you should call ahead for and see if you need to come in,” explained Dr. Larson.

Many providers are also offering telehealth or virtual visits and then will determine if you need to come to the office or the hospital.

When it comes to staying healthy physically and mentally, Dr. Larson gave us a list of things that start with “S” which make the recommendations easier to remember:

  • Sleep – Seven hours altogether – naps count
  • Sweating – simple exercise and getting your heart rate up if you can
  • Support – Talk to folks you trust who can just listen – family, friends, clergy, counselors
  • Scribbling – Write in a “gratitude journal” before bed, or, when you wake up at night and can’t sleep. Jot down thoughts that are worrying you or making you anxious. Good data shows journaling eases negative experiences.
  • Sunlight – Good bright sun exposure or a natural wavelength indoor light, especially first thing in the morning for your mood or midday for best vitamin D production.
  • Seafood – DHA, the fatty acid in sardines, salmon, trout, and fatty fishes, is helpful for mood
  • Sensual/Skin Touch – Humans of all ages crave touch. If you can, ask someone for a back rub or massage.
  • Sex – or masturbation is good for physical and mental health
  • Spiritual or medication – Mindfulness practices
  • Smile – Just the act of engaging those facial muscles improves mood
  • Snap – Take a photo of a natural scene. It will get you outside for some “vitamin N”-Nature. The Japanese do “tree bathing” to get phytoncides, chemicals released from plants that drop pulse and improve immune function
  • Singing – Improves social cohesiveness – try a ZOOM karaoke or sing-a-long family reunion
  • Simple acts of kindness – Altruism/ volunteering boosts your own morale and helps you connect to other people
  • Soil – Gardening is good exercise and also exposes you to healthy bacteria.
  • SSRI’s (antidepressants) – If the non-pharmacological methods above aren’t helping- talk to your provider about medications that can help

For more tips on women’s health watch the Facebook Live episode above.