November 20, 2020
Pregnancy, Covid & Holiday Travel: Advice from MotherToBaby
By: Cara Terreri | 0 Comments
The holiday season is here just as Covid cases are surging. Families across the world are forced to make tough decisions about cherished traditions that often involve family gathers.
Since pregnant people are more susceptible to risks from Covid, making safe travel/family gathering decisions can feel especially critical. MotherToBaby, a service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), and the nation’s leading authority and most trusted source of evidence-based information on the safety of medications and other exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, offers helpful advice for pregnant people considering travel and holiday gatherings this season.
- Stay home when possible: Staying local and celebrating in-person only with other members of your household is the safest approach this year.
- Preparing to travel: If it’s not possible for you to stay home, then prepare, prepare, prepare! This means taking precautions to limit your own exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 for 14 days before you plan to depart. Things like less frequent trips to the grocery store, keeping kids home and socially distancing them from their friends, working remotely when possible, and avoiding any pre-holiday gatherings. If you have to go on an important outing (such as a prenatal visit), keep in mind the prevention basics: wash your hands, maintain distance, and wear a mask.
- Getting tested for COVID-19 is another way to reduce risk prior to gathering. This is especially important to do if you develop any symptoms that could be COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, etc.).
- Choose how you travel: Driving to your destination is one way to limit your exposure to others and reduce the risk of getting sick in transit. If you have to fly, take a bus, or get on a train, you will likely be surrounded by many other people, which is more of a potential risk.
- Get a flu shot: It won’t protect you from COVID-19, it will help prevent the flu, which can be serious for pregnant women. It will also help keep you from needing medical care, which is important since some communities are reaching max capacity in their hospitals and may not have room to admit you for treatment.
- Celebrate safely: Whether you travel or stay close to home during the holidays, you can reduce the chance of coming into contact with the virus by continuing to take precautions while celebrating with others. Limiting activities to people in your own household obviously presents the least risk since you’re already together anyway. But if you do host or attend gatherings with others, keep in mind that smaller groups in outdoor spaces where everyone wears a mask, stays at least 6 feet apart, and practices good hand hygiene is a much safer option than attending large indoor gatherings where not everyone wears a mask or follows other common sense precautions. Your decision to spend time around others should also consider the current spread of COVID-19 in the community where you live or where you will be traveling.
- Stay food safe: Even though the chance of getting COVID-19 from contact with food or serving utensils is probably low, it’s important that everyone wash their hands before preparing, serving, or eating food. Having only 1 or 2 people serve the food to everyone else while wearing a mask is a better choice than having lots of people handle the serving utensils or food containers. As yummy as potlucks or buffets can be, at least for this year it might be safer if each guest brings food and drinks for themselves and their own household members only, or picks up ready-to-serve items. In addition, since people clearly can’t be masked and eat at the same time, plan ahead and get creative to create space between people when they sit down to eat.
- After the party: After attending any gatherings (even small ones) or staying with relatives, pay attention to any symptoms that could suggest possible COVID-19 infection. If you, or anyone else you spent time with, have symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, you should contact your healthcare provider right away about testing and/or follow any instructions from her local health department. You will most likely need to self-isolate at home for 14 days. In addition, contact your hosts as soon as possible to let them know, so they can inform other guests and family members that they might have been exposed to the virus. do.
For more tips on celebrating safely during the holidays, visit the CDC’s website on COVID-19 and holiday celebrations. And for more information about COVID-19 and pregnancy and breastfeeding, see our MotherToBaby fact sheet. However you choose to celebrate, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!
TagsHolidays COVID-19 Coronavirus Covid and Pregnancy Covid Safety Tips