You have all been on our hearts and minds amidst the growing concern around the Covid-19 pandemic.
As midwives and mothers we have gathered immune support suggestions over the years that we follow and also recommend to our clients. We wanted to reach out to offer these suggestions, some additional resources we trust, and to help you in supporting healthy choices around your pregnancy and upcoming birth.
Tips for staying healthy – Boosting your immune system safely in pregnancy
These are some of the most basic and common recommendations for healthy pregnancy that we have received from the naturopathic community over the last 30 years.
A healthy diet – AVOID ALL refined sugars. Stevia is ok. Sugar depresses the immune system and can actually take the immune system “off line” for up to 6 hours.
Stay hydrated. Recommendation is for approximately 3 quarts/water per day. Sipping on water throughout the day is the best way to hydrate. We have also recently learned that rinsing your mouth out with water, and keep your mouth moist frequently, as in every 15 minutes. From Stanford, “Why? Even if the virus gets into your mouth, drinking water or other liquids will wash them down through your throat and into the stomach. Once there, your stomach acid will kill all the virus. If you don’t drink enough water regularly, the virus can enter your windpipe and into the lungs.
Adequate Sleep and Rest, this means you are getting a minimum of 8 hours and most pregnant parents find they need 10+ hours of sleep per night. It is also very important to rest when you need a break. This can even be 10-15 minutes to put your feet up at work.This is not a good time to push yourself!
Daily exercise (outdoors if possible) is so important for so many reasons during pregnancy. It will also help you to stay healthy!
Minimizing stress with relaxation practice and/or meditation. Unchecked stress can also depress your immune system. There are so many resources available online and in apps to offer this support. It really makes a difference in staying present to your pregnancy wellbeing and your the wellbeing of your baby! Listen to a relaxation here that Rhione created especially for today. 7 min relaxation and reset
Propolis extract and/or Propolis throat spray (if you have an allergy to Bee stings this is not recommended)
You can use propolis extract (look for one that only has propolis) adding 40 drops to a quart of water and sipping on it throughout the day will help to boost the immune system. This also helps with killing the virus in your mouth and throat. You can use a propolis throat spray prior to leaving home and after going out in public to help kill any viral droplets and bacteria in your mouth and throat.
Elderberry Syrup 2 T/day
Zinc 20-40 mg/day when you have symptoms or have been exposed. A zinc lozenge can also be a helpful way to take zinc.
Small amount Vit C – up to 2000mg/day when you have symptoms or have been exposed
Probiotics – raw sauerkraut or high quality probiotic supplement daily
Vit D 2000/IU to 6000/IU/d per day
EFA’s 3000-5000mg/day; decrease or stop after 37 weeks
Garlic – lots of minced garlic in food, soup or tea (contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties)
Ginger –simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes for tea or to add to your soup. You can also cook it into your food.
Echinacea typically 5 ml 2/x day (echinacea can only be taken up to two weeks at a time; then take a week break). Astragalus membranaceus is also an option for immune support in pregnancy.
Apple Cider Vinegar Water – 2 T vinegar to 1 quart water – sip throughout the day. Fine to add a bit of honey if you like.
Hand hygiene: wash hands frequently
Wet hands then turn off the water while you rub your hands vigorously with soap for 20 seconds, then rinse well and dry carefully. Moist hands are more susceptible to conducting virus or bacteria. As an alternative use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Consider not going to the potluck! Here is a link explaining how social distancing is important in” flattening the curve” of the outbreak.
The most indicated homeopathic remedy can help quickly and safely – check with your homeopathic doctor or naturopathic physician about this.
Orenda “Ultimate Immune” product – safe in pregnancy and for small children. Very effective. Here is a link to more info.
As always, it is important to understand that this information is for educational purposes only and not meant to be taken as medical advice. Always check with your primary care provider before undergoing a prevention or treatment plan in pregnancy.
First and foremost remember that the foundation of health that you are setting during your pregnancy really supports a healthy birth.
This is an important time to maintain your daily wellness rhythms. You need your self-care even more when you are concerned and under additional stress.
We find that self care routines are easier to maintain with advanced planning. Scheduling yourself into every day, and providing time to prepare/access nutritious food, exercise, rest, and relaxation and meditation practice will set a solid foundation for your health.
Planning for your birth
This is a really important time to remember that you have choices and the opportunity to advocate for yourself with your doctor or midwife and with the hospital you have chosen.
We recently had someone ask what we are recommending with the possibility that doulas may not be allowed in the hospital with the birthing parents. We recognize that your doula is a vital and essential part of your birth team and are happy to see professional organizations stepping up with policy statements supporting families in their right to have their doula present for the birth. We have included a link here to a recent post on this subject by Birth Monopoly.
There is also concern, and rightfully so, about the possibility of separating mom and baby if the mother tests positive for Covid-19. This is not evidence-based as not much is known about this virus yet. Please consider reading the information in Dr. Aviva Romm’s recent post on Covid-19 and pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. She is a midwife, herbalist and Integrative Medical Doctor and is one of the most preeminent authorities on Women’s health today.
Finally, we want you to know we are here for you. We have dedicated our lives to serving families through this important time of life and we would love to be there for you as well. Consider reaching out if you would like to hop on the phone and speak with an experienced midwife.