OB/GYN Mary Jane Minkin, M.D. offers advice to address pregnancy anxieties
According to a new First Response survey about the current family planning goals of 3,000 US women aged 18-35, nearly 20% say they’re uncertain of their trying to conceive (TTC) plans while 38% are intentionally putting off conceiving during the pandemic due to anxiety and stress. Mary Jane Minkin, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Yale Medical School tells women to follow simple safety measures when considering getting pregnant during this unprecedented time.
“Women are understandably facing a lot of anxiety when considering their family planning journey and many are waiting for a vaccine before starting or growing their family,” says Minkin. “However, if the time is right to have a baby, go ahead and book an appointment with a medical provider, take extra precautions, utilize telehealth appointments, and implement precautions based on the advice from healthcare providers.”
Dr. Minkin offers the following advice to address pregnancy related anxieties:
Book a preconception appointment. OB-GYN’s, doctors, and nurse practitioners are available via phone and in person to answer all questions and health concerns. If you need help finding a healthcare provider, contact your nearest hospital clinic, community health center external icon, or health department. Medical visits can also be handled virtually by scheduling a telehealth appointment, which can be helpful to address any questions you may have.
When unsure, take a pregnancy test. Stress and anxiety can trigger symptoms that mimic those of pregnancy, like morning sickness, food cravings, mood swings, and fatigue – so the best way to know if pregnant is to use a reliable pregnancy test like First Response Early Result so you don’t need to leave the house until COVID-19 settles down. A test can be revealing up to six days before a missed period. Be sure to call your doctor right away if the test is positive to put a proper plan of action in place.
Be wary of listening to friends or relying on Dr. Google. While the experiences of others or the internet can hold insights, when it comes to making important personal health decisions make sure to consult a medical professional to confirm whether what you’ve been told or read is really true. Other reliable online sources include ACOG.org, CDC.gov, and WHO.int.
Stay current on all vaccines. Pregnancy can alter the immune system and lead to an increased risk of respiratory infections. A flu shot can help mom and baby by causing the body to create protective antibodies (proteins produced by the body to fight off diseases.) The whooping cough (Tdap) vaccine will help protect your baby against whooping cough, which can mimic symptoms of COVID-19.
Maintain overall health. Make sure to have at least a 30-day supply of the medicines you need on hand, stop smoking, eat healthy foods and supplement with folic acid. Try an easy to take pre-natal vitamin like the vitafusion gummy vitamin. It is also important to avoid alcohol and limit caffeine intake