Q: What should I do to protect myself and my baby from coronavirus if I’m pregnant?
Dr. Stacy Ammerman, OB/GYN, Maui Lani Physicians & Surgeons: We’re learning more about COVID-19/coronavirus every day, and there’s still a lot we don’t know about how the disease affects pregnant people, and whether you’re at higher risk if you’re pregnant.
So far, there’s no data showing that pregnant people are at greater risk from coronavirus. However, there is a lot of evidence that pregnancy increases your risk from other viruses, like influenza. For this reason, many experts are recommending that pregnant people take extra precautions.
Take steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 by avoiding people who are sick or have been exposed to the virus, practicing social distancing by staying at least six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live with you, avoiding social gatherings and staying home as much as possible. It’s also important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
Prenatal visits are important to make sure both you and your baby are healthy. If you’re concerned about being exposed to coronavirus during your appointments, talk with your healthcare provider about how to proceed, whether you should skip any visits or if you can do the check-in remotely, and what your health care provider is doing to keep visits safe and minimize the risks.
Finally, it’s unlikely that you can pass coronavirus to your baby during pregnancy, and there’s no evidence that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. However, newborns can become infected through person-to-person spread after birth. If you test positive for COVID-19 and decide to breastfeed, wash your hands frequently and wear a mask to reduce your baby’s exposure, or use a pump to express milk so that someone else can feed your baby.
Q: Can osteoporosis be prevented?
Dr. Nicole Apoliona, Medical Director, Kula Hospital: Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to become porous and brittle over time. It’s most common in post-menopausal women, but anyone can get it.
Osteoporosis increases your risk of fracture from a fall or other trauma. There are several things you can do to help keep your bones healthy and protect yourself against osteoporosis. Eat foods that are rich in calcium and Vitamin D. These are nutrients that are essential for building healthy bones and helping bones to regrow, heal, and replenish themselves. The amount of calcium you need can change at different times in your life, so talk to your doctor or look up the recommended daily allowance for your age group online.
Exercise can also help protect your bones, especially strength training. Studies have found that weight lifting and resistance exercises can help prevent bone loss and may even increase bone density over time. If you haven’t yet been diagnosed with osteoporosis, high-impact exercise like running or playing basketball has been shown to increase bone density and make bones stronger.
If you think you may be at risk of osteoporosis speak to your doctor who may order a bone mineral density test to check for bone density loss.
* Physicians, providers and administrative staff who practice at Maui Health System hospitals and clinics answer questions from the public in “Healthwise Maui,” which appears on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Maui Health System operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lana’i Community Hospital and accepts all patients. To submit a question, go to the website at mauihealth.org/healthwise.