Is my unborn baby at risk for COVID-19?

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Is my unborn baby at risk for COVID-19?

If I get COVID-19 while pregnant, 

will I have other serious health consequences?

Evidence based information for childbearing women

Research concludes:

Pregnant women who have COVID-19 have the same symptoms as the general population.

The clinical characteristics of COVID-19 pneumonia during pregnancy are similar to those of non-pregnant adults with COVID-19 pneumonia.” Yan, et al

Pregnant women are not at higher risk for miscarraige or preterm birth.

“There is no evidence of increased risk of miscarriage or spontaneous preterm birth with COVID-19 compared to the background risk in the general population.” Yan, et al

Babies do not get COVID-19 from their mothers while in utero.  

Multiple studies consistently conclude that unborn babies do not get COVID-19 even if their mothers are infected during pregnancy.  

  • “There was no evidence of parent-to-baby transmission during pregnancy or birth.” Yan, et al  
  • “None of the newborns had COVID-19 at birth. None of the infants developed serious clinical symptoms such as fever, cough, or diarrhea.” Chen, et al


Can babies get COVID-19 after they are born?

Yes, exposures put babies at risk, as for any of us.  Mothers and babies need caretakers to help them with hygiene, along with wearing masks to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Unless providing essential, direct care for mother and baby, extended families and friends should practice social distancing and online visits.  

Conclusions:  Your unborn baby is safe

Midwifery professor & researcher Hannah Dahlen says COVID-19 hasn’t been found in amniotic fluid surrounding the baby, in the vagina or in breast milk. These initial studies indicate that in utero babies don’t get COVID-19 because the placenta acts as a filtering system.  Dr Hannah, Professor of Midwifery and Higher Degree Research Director in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University, Australia.  


Babies do not get COVID-19 through breastmilk.

Look for more on this topic in my next post.

The studies:  Read the research 

Conveyed by Dr Rebecca Dekker, Evidence Based Birth

COVID-19 in pregnant women:  116 cases. Yan, et al; a team of 22 researchers

Infants born to women with COVID-19. Chen, et al

Among the first four known pregnant women with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, none of the newborns had COVID-19.  None of the infants developed serious clinical symptoms such as fever, cough, or diarrhea. 


Posts in the coming weeks for your family and friends:

Breastfeeding during COVID-19

– Are you getting pressured to induce birth early? How to know if your body is ready to give birth, and avoid a C-section.

– Holistic care for you and your family

– Wisdom & humor to navigate uncertainty & risk

– What are your questions?

Elderberry – Let’s clear up the confusion

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In these uncertain times, we all want to know what we can do to strengthen our health for ourselves, our kids and our family members.  We want solid, high quality information to make decisions. One of my roles in supporting families is to vet and forward excellent information to families.   Also, let’s demystify confusing information flying around the internet.  

To be totally clear, I am not an herbalist or a medical provider.  Who I am is a person who cares about access to excellent information, with years of experience sharing with family & friends.  Just last week, I told my sister, I realized that sharing high quality information is my love language.  

I’ll be posting a series for parents, childbearing families and folks in general, bringing you valuable materials for self-care.  This week I forward you an evidence based post by Dr Kataeri. In summary he says

Elderberry & elderflower are excellent herbs for every member of the family to build immune system health. These herbs are immune system modulators, valuable both in preventative care and during the virus.  Elderberry & elderflower strengthen the immune system when it’s low function, and balance, or tone down, an overactive inflammatory response during an acute illness.  

Many of the severe symptoms of flus are due to an immune system on overdrive with inflammatory response.  The immune system works hard, trying full force to mount an all out attack on the virus, the immune system but then actually creates inflammation through the body that’s debilitating and creates many secondary health problems typical of the flu.  

Elderberry & flowers are NOT immune stimulators. A lot of the confusion on the web assumes that elderberry & flower are immune system stimulators that would ramp up an already hyperactive immune system.  Instead, these herbs, as whole plants, are our friends. Elderberry & flowers modulate our immune system responses to bring them into balance.   

In his article, Dr Kataeri, references research at the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), a branch of the NIH (National Institute of Health).  

Find an herbalist or naturopath in your area for guidance & support to strengthen your family’s immune system. We have many excellent practitioners who serve families, including specialized care for children and for pregnant & nursing mothers. 

Posts in the coming weeks for your family and friends:

– Evidence based information specific to pregnancy, breastfeeding and postpartum women

– Are you getting pressured to induce birth early? How to know if your body is ready to give birth, and avoid a C-section.

– Holistic care for you and your family

– Wisdom & humor to navigate uncertainty & risk

– What are your questions?


Our beloved cannot read our mind

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As babies, our little ones need us to give generously to care for them. Our wholehearted responsiveness to their needs of all kinds creates within them a sense of trust in relationship.  We respond with ‘Yes, my dear one’, as much as we are able. Babies learn that the world is a safe place, that they can ask for help, and that support will be given to them.  What babies give in return is their unmediated love and presence. What a gift to us.

As babies come into toddlerhood, they come into a developmental stage of differentiating self and other.  They explore their world in movement, gradually coming into a bigger world of our home and the playground. Toddlers fall – and it is OK.  This is part of their learning; we can create environments that are safe for them in exploring and in falling.  

Toddlerhood is a very emotional time for most little ones. It’s a big deal to realize that the beloved cannot read your mind, and is not always in agreement, and has needs that are completely outside of one’s own felt body.  Toddlers also start to say no, to want things they cannot have or are not good for them to have. Since some of these things are unhealthy or dangerous (sugar, knives, running into the street), parents have to say no. Part of the developmental process for toddlers is learning that the world has limits of safety. Toddlers also gradually realize that their parents are separate human beings with needs of our own.  By tending our selves as well as our child, we are teaching how to live in giving and receiving.  This includes learning patience and many other emotional skills. Now we are fostering emotional intelligence in relationship. It’s a very different stage than the newborn days.

Trust comes from being guided within safe limits.  A child learns to thrive within limits. These don’t have to be viewed as restrictions; but as the container for thriving.  For example, a cell has a membrane that contains all of its components inside of it.  The membrane acts as a filter to allow nourishment in, and to release what is not needed.  This membrane boundary forms a container which the very special process of life is enabled. Healthy boundaries allow us to thrive within limits.

Each little one comes into the world with his/her personality. As parents our role is to meet them in who they are, and to foster them in both becoming an individual and in respecting & honoring others in their personhood.  From toddlerhood on we are fostering independence and interdependence in community.  Since every child is different, we are responding to each individually about what guidance may be needed to support each child coming into themselves, their world and the community. This role of parenting extends over years, into adolescence.

I will share a story about a close friend and her kids. I learned so much seeing her parent. She has three children, now each an adult fulfilling themselves in good relation and in their beautiful work in the world. Each of them had a very different personality. I will be using pseudonyms.

Her firstborn, Joseph, was an adventurous, high energy child. Generally he would leap before he would look. Jack climbed up the bookshelves and would be found perched on top of dressers. He would run out of the house & down the street. This was at the time when my friend was pregnant with baby #2.  He was a faster runner than her in her pregnancy. Jack would dismantle clocks and mechanical devices very early on, in his curiousity to understand what was inside and see how it worked. My friend had to set very clear, strong limits with strong consequences for him to learn.  She talked with me about her idea of discipline coming from the disciples of Jesus. So, discipline is very multi-dimensional.

Her second born, Robert, was a very quiet and reflective as a child.  He was very obedient and followed all the rules.  Robert was delayed in speech, in the saying words, the small building of vocabulary typical of toddlers. When he did begin to speak, he spoke in complete sentences. He was not a risk taker. My friend was concerned about how compliant Robert was. She found a Sesame Street book, Please don’t push the red button.  Here’s a description of the book:

‘On the tape, Grover guides the listener through a series of puzzles and games, but requests rather emphatically that the listener never push the red button on the Talk ‘n Play unit (4 colored buttons). If the red button is pushed, Grover usually offers gentle corrections (“We are not pushing the red button today!”) but occasionally he becomes a bit exasperated.

But, see, this little review is written about how MOST children would interact with the book. Most toddlers & preschoolers would not be able to resist pushing the red button, since the idea of doing this is introduced on every page.  Joseph would gleefully hit the red button again and again.  Instead, Robert would never push the red button, following instructions by Grover.  My friend sat with him, making suggestions: ‘I wonder what would happen if you pushed the red button.  It’s OK to be curious.  It’s OK to not always do what people tell you to do.’  The book was very well designed.  Hitting the ‘right’ button’ elicited an encouraging & affirming response.  Grover was patient with the rapscallions who pushed the red button. And the final page was a big hurrah. grand finale of: Hit the RED button! 🙂

My friend’s third born child is a girl, who was curious and exploratory – all around a child balanced in activity & reflection.

Love upholds all

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We want to honor the woman in birth, to let her know that her efforts are all worthy, that she is beautiful & strong, and that she is making the best possible choices, moment to moment.

Birth is an extraordinary experience in a woman’s life, and, while we can influence its course, we cannot control it. Our first concern is that this woman, becoming a mother, is supported in her spirit to trust herself and her connection with her child. Love upholds each. Love upholds all.

Should or Could

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Noticing again how often SHOULD is running behind my thoughts and everyday functioning.  All the things I SHOULD do are worthwhile. But Should Do carries such a weight of judgment when I don’t manage to pull it all off. Of course, since it is the endless To Do list.

When I slow down enough to notice Should running behind the scenes, I feel how much tension builds up in my body.  Where it shows up for me is shoulders, neck and a little headache.  Then I recognize, Oh this is grasping in my body, muscle tension.  Oh, this is grasping in my mind at the future. Along with a little load – or a heavy load – of judgement.

Then I feel the fear under the judgment.  Fear that I won’t get accomplish everything on the To Do list.  Fear – what happens when I don’t do it all? Then, when I am able, I ask the mind to PAUSE and NOT run amuck down the familiar path of concocting a myriad of bad consequences, and instead to notice, Oh, this is fear. Then I feel how shows up in my body.  How my mind flies around in multiple directions with the sticky, panicky fear gloming onto whatever floats up into the mind.

Now I notice that spell check does not recognize gloming onto.  Glooming onto fear works pretty well too.

When I can get this far in awareness, keeping my mind awake, I can invite this mind to consider: COULD do. Along with that invitation, I have begun to ask myself: What is a choice of peace for this mind? I really would like more peace here at home in this being.

Right next to this entire process is the judge, sitting on the side, saying, Ugh, you should know this by now, because this is a lesson you’ve had to learn before. The hard, hard way.  So, you SHOULD know this.  Oh, oh, catch that thought. Another Should, a very potent one, SHOULD KNOW BETTER. Old familiar friend, I see you behind the scenes, playing puppet master of this mind.  Shake off those strings and take a walk, dear judge.  I will call on you when I need you to make a decision.  You are valuable for discerning when I need you. Not just now.

Now, instead, begin again with the most humble intent to be kind to this one, this mind that runs along its habitual, well worn grooves.  A mind that once again find itself stressed, or being a trouble maker.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. … There is no thought ‘I have attained something’….. So the most difficult thing is to always keep your beginner’s mind. ……  The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion.” – Shunryo Suzuki Roshi





Babies are money makers

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In his research on infant care, and especially premature infant care, Dr Nils Bergman is working assiduously to debunk the mythology that premature babies are more healthy in incubators.  The whole emergence of incubator use was a great money maker of “Dr” Couney, who set up his Infant Incubator exhibits at World Fairs and amusement parks, including Coney Island, and all across the US in the late 1800s.   Martin Couney was not a doctor, he was a promoter, and put himself in the position of being the ‘rescuer’ of babies who were failing in the hospital.
Follow this link that gives us a Minnesota historic participation in ‘modern’ care for babies. Scroll into 1:37 to see the Infant Incubator House at the Wonderland Amusement Park.  While you are watching, please consider: What were the conditions and choices for these vulnerable babies and their mothers?
To begin, please note that the ‘research’ that is claimed to be behind Couney incubators is highly questionable. What practices are being compared to what other conditions of care?

As Dr Bergman says, it all depends on what we are comparing.  So:  Are we comparing premature babies in an incubator with premature babies in an isolette (isolated box!!!) in a nursery separate from the maternity ward where mothers are laying in?  This was modern hospital care in big cities from the late 1800s through mid-century 1900s and beyond. Or are we comparing premies in an incubator with premature babies who are carried skin-to-skin on their mothers?
Guess which of the three groups has the most excellent outcomes for both survival and for long term development.  Yes, premature babies held skin-to-skin (also known as kangaroo care) have better vitals on every measure (breathing, heart rate, temperature, glucose levels) as well as a hugely improved arc of development for physical, social/emotional and cognitive outcomes.
So, why does history matter? The incubator continues to be treated as a superior piece of technology and as the gold standard of medical care that still trumps mothers holding their own vulnerable babies.  This is reflected in the way that almost all neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are set up in the USA.
In order to carry out effective skin to skin care, babies need to be held basically all the time on their mothers/fathers/primary person.  Mothers/parents needs to live and sleep with their babies – called rooming-in – with a bed and care for the mother.  Rooming-in is very rare in NICUs.  Most NICUs have zero beds for mothers.  Or a hospital has one bedroom for mother-baby – then the medical center can claim that they have rooming-in.  Hospitals will also say that they have kangaroo care for premies, but then only ‘allow’ babies to be skin-to-skin for an hour a day or intermittently. Most medical centers only allow babies to be skin to skin with mother IF baby’s vitals are good.  However, Dr Bergman’s research clearly concludes that babies’ vitals are better in skin to skin.  In other words, incubators destabilize premature babies and hinder their development, compared to skin to skin care.
Dr Bergman’s strong recommendation is that NICU’s must be totally redesigned to place baby AND mother at the center of care, with all the technology and medical staffing support adapting to the best practices for best outcomes for premature and fragile babies.
And of course, additionally we need social policies that support women financially in being with their premature babies during this vulnerable time, and to provide care for their other children at home.  Otherwise many, many mothers are not able to be in the medical center with their babies.
This is also a social justice issue, as babies of African American descent are at higher risk of prematurity.  And their higher risk of prematurity is due to several reasons that are also social justice issues.  Among the independently contributing variables are stress of family economics, and racism as it own stressor (independent of other variables, all by itself).
And let us look at the history source of separation of mothers and babies. This is a phenomena of European aristocrats and wanna-be upper class folk.  Separation of mothers and babies includes the demeaning of women who breastfeed and carry their babies as low-class, inferior, dirty peasants, and discrediting them as spoiling their children. There is still a lot of shaming going on towards mothers along these lines in parts of American and European culture.  So history matters, because it is still playing out with assumptions and attitudes embedded in families, cultural values, in medical institutions and in direct medical care.

Breastfeeding Friendly childcare

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New MDH Breastfeeding Friendly recognition program available

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has launched a program to recognize family child care homes and child care centers that have taken steps to become Breastfeeding Friendly.

Child care providers can play a critical role in supporting breastfeeding mothers and their babies. It’s important to recognize their successes and efforts to support breastfeeding in their child care programs.

MDH has tools available here to help get child care providers on the path to recognition. Applications for family child care homes and child care centers are posted on the MDH website.

The Breastfeeding Friendly designation is valid for three years; child care programs need to reapply after their designation expires. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

For more information about the recognition program or application process, email

Triplet tales: It took a village

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Cat w triplet ABreastfeeding: Slow beginning…..

We were committed to breastfeeding, and we needed everyone’s help to make it possible.  Breastfeeding was affected by so many variables.  Each baby had his/her own little challenges in the beginning. I began bringing them to breast from the first day, but they were born early, so the babies weren’t quite ready to fully feed at birth.

All three babies were snuggled tightly together in utero. Babies P and A were heads down, while baby W was head up.  I began having contractions in the month coming up to their birth. The month of prelabor along with their individual positions in the last two months shaped each head and ability to latch differently.  Their grandma Gigi urged us to get craniosacral therapy to help with the displacement of their cranial bones evident for each of their newborn heads, especially to help with breastfeeding and calmness.

Full on triplet feeding

Our babies also had variations in maturity and temperament.  Baby P was the largest and first to find an easy breastfeeding rhythm.  Initially the boys tired quickly at the breast.  Craniosacral therapy helped their bones line up better, and to open their latch for easier, more efficient feeds.   All the babies relaxed deeply during session and were calmer overall.

Stroller snooze sml

We were able to gradually increase the length of breastfeeding sessions and arrive at full breastfeeding for all of them. Although it took three months before all three babies were reliably breastfeeding, we all felt it was well worth giving continuously to make it eventually happen.  The village came through to help do laundry, cook food, change diapers and to cuddle, so I was able to focus on being with my babies, breastfeeding and keeping myself as well fed and rested as possible.   – mama J

My mobility is back

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Happy sacrum sml

My sacrum felt amazing all weekend – like I wasn’t even pregnant. It’s feeling a bit tighter now but no pain. Because it’s unstable, I’m combining movement activities at home with alternating chiropractic and myofascial release help. I feel like I have my body and mobility back. Thank you. – Kim K

Triplet tales: Easy vision for future reading

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Early on we noticed that one of baby P’s eyes seemed smaller than the other.  Catherine suggested that gently guiding the bones around the eyes to even alignment would make her vision easier for long term, future reading loads.  Since cranial bones are the most mobile in the first years, we could now make a big difference for her down the road.

With a few sessions and our home program, we saw her eyes even out gradually.  This seemed like it was all worked out.  Then 2 weeks after we had seen Catherine, her left eye again looked smaller.  When we talked about it, we realized Phoebe had had a growth spurt. As Catherine described it, we had gently moved her bones into better alignment, but not perfect alignment.  So when P had a growth spurt, the slight displacement became more apparent.  With continued gentle craniosacral therapy we saw her eyes become even again.   —  Mama J

Watch for more Triplet tales to come