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Fecal Transmission of COVID-19

Fecal Transmission of COVID-19

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 has everyone covering their faces, washing their hands and practicing social distancing. Those that are pregnant are even more cautious. This is wise because pregnancy weakens the immune system making you more vulnerable to sickness. One of the most concerning parts of our situation is that so little is known about the virus. This makes every precaution worth while, especially when it comes to the health of your baby.

The World Health Organization states that COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets containing the virus or the virus being suspended in the air. This is why staying away from people, facemasks and sanitising are so important. But exposure to COVID-19 isn’t limited to the routes everyone is talking about.

COVID-19 – Not Just Respiratory

 

Some patient results listed in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology found that

those that are no longer testing positive for Coronavirus in their respiratory system are consistently still testing positive in rectal swabs. 

A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that 99/204 patients stated digestive problems as their main issue (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea) resulting from their COVID-19 infection. There have even been patients that did not exhibit signs of respiratory problems that have tested positive in their rectal swab. Not all patients experience the discomfort in their stomachs either. Unfortunately that means even if you aren’t having trouble breathing or having stomach issues, you could still have the virus.

Researchers say that the virus could stay around longer in the digestive system than in the respiratory system. The City University’s Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering published that toilets can spread left behind bacteria far into the air and the surrounding objects through droplets from flushing. 

How COVID-19 reacts with the gastrointestinal tract and is spread through fecal matter and even in water are still some of the unknowns.

Pregnancy and Stomach Problems

 

The issues a normal person might face if they contract the virus are horrible. If you are pregnant, the worry of course increases. Gastrointestinal issues and pregnancy are of concern when it comes to pregnancy. A study published in the Open Forum for Infectious Diseases found that in a sample of 527 pregnant women experiencing diarrhea, a small gestational age was increased by approximately 20%.

Dehydration from diarrhea can lead to serious health complications and even be fatal for both mother and baby. Dehydration can affect how nutrients are carried throughout the body and negatively impact breast milk production. Dehydration can also lead to low levels of amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid is essential to your baby’s development and can increase the chance for preterm labor. 

The Bottom Line

 

Nobody knows all of the facts about COVID-19. The new research being done on the virus and fecal matter illustrates that taking more safety measures is better right now. In addition to your respiratory defenses you should also be taking care in the bathroom.

  • Don’t use public restrooms

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after the bathroom

  • Put your toilet seat down when flushing

  • Clean and disinfect your bathroom and toilet often

  • Don’t hug the toilet if you’re experiencing morning sickness

 

 

 

 

References:⁣

https://www.familyeducation.com/immune-system-pregnancy-step-step-guide⁣

CDC Recommendations/Higher risk of respiratory infections: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fpregnancy-breastfeeding.html⁣

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/dehydration#What-causes-dehydration?-⁣

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4161079/⁣

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41575-020-0295-7⁣

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32284613/?dopt=Abstract⁣

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3050502/coronavirus-hong-kong-study-shows-pathogens-can⁣

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Sleep Tips for Pregnancy

Sleep Tips For Pregnancy Image

Pregnancy is the beginning of exciting changes in your life and body. Unfortunately, each trimester comes with unique sleep challenges that you’ll need to address. We’ve laid out some sleep tips that are helpful during pregnancy and after along with a break down of the sleep challenges you’ll face in each trimester.

Sleep Tips for Anytime

Sleep Environment

A sleep-supportive bedroom should be dark and quiet. You might need blackout curtains or a white noise machine to reduce outside distractions. Pregnancy can also cause you to feel too hot so try to keep the temperature between 60 to 68 degrees.

Bedtime and Bedtime Routine

The human body loves consistency so try to keep a regular bedtime and create a relaxing bedtime routine for yourself. Meditation, gentle yoga, and a warm bath are a few ideas you might want to consider.

Turn Off Screens

Electronic screens emit a bright light that suppresses sleep hormones. Turn them off two to three hours before bed to stay on track for your bedtime.

Sleep Challenges by Trimester

First Trimester

Once you get pregnant, your progesterone levels skyrocket causing daytime sleepiness. Though the fetus is still small at this point, nighttime bathroom visits start because implantation puts extra pressure on the bladder. Additionally, you may experience pelvic pain and tender breasts that make it hard to get comfortable at night.
First Trimester Sleep Tips
  • Nap: A short 15 to 30-minute nap won’t interfere with your sleep at night and can counteract the fatiguing effects of progesterone.
  • Limit Your Afternoon Fluid Intake: Stop drinking fluids about four hours before bed to prevent nighttime disruptions. However, make sure you stay well hydrated the rest of the day.
  • Address Morning Sickness: Morning sickness can strike any time, including bedtime. An empty stomach can aggravate symptoms so keep some crackers or pretzels on hand

Second Trimester

In general, the second trimester is when you’ll have the easiest time sleeping because fatigue and morning sickness subside. You now enter the world of heartburn and leg cramps.

Second Trimester Sleep Tips
  • Avoid Acidic and Spicy Foods: Acidic foods like lemons and tomatoes are common culprits of heartburn, but spicy foods can be triggers too. Watch your chocolate, caffeine, and carbonated beverage consumption as well.
  • Stay Upright After Eating: If possible stay upright for four hours after eating to prevent sleep disruptions. You may need to sleep with a pillow behind your back to keep that upright position during the night.
  • Stretch Leg Cramps: Your partner can help you stretch out leg cramps or you can use the wall. If you use the wall, make sure clear a path before bed so you don’t trip in the dark.

Third Trimester

During the third trimester, leg cramps continue and the need to urinate increases due to the growing pressure on your bladder. Pelvic and back pain become a comfort issue at this point. Twenty percent of pregnant women also develop sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While restless leg syndrome will disappear after pregnancy and poses little risk to your baby, if you suspect OSA, characterized by loud snoring and pauses in your breathing, talk to your physician. The hormone surges that accompany OSA can be harmful to your baby.

Third Trimester Sleep Tips
  • Reduce Nighttime Fluids: Reduce your fluid intake starting four hours before bed.
  • Iron-rich Foods and Prenatal Vitamins: Restless leg syndrome has been linked to iron deficiency so make sure you’re taking your prenatal vitamins and increase your intake of iron-rich foods.
  • Sleep on Your Left Side: Sleeping on your left side increases circulation to your baby and improves your breathing and circulation. You can also try sleeping with a pillow between your legs to reduce discomfort.

Conclusion

You might have to make some habit or schedule changes to get more sleep, but it’s worth it. Adequate sleep will allow your body to focus on the important work of growing another human being. We hope these sleep tips assist you during your pregnancy and beyond!