My sister is in the hospital for a relatively minor procedure but the entire family has gone to visit her. I have not. I feel guilty but at 11 weeks am not eager to take any chances with infection. I also have refused to watch her kids who are at times in daycare because of CMV risks, etc. I feel like a terrible sister, and were I not pg, I'd watch them in a minute. I had a miscarriage before this pg and don't want any risks. In fact, we'd all gotten together, and only weeks later did she mention that her daughter had 5ths Disease around that time. I now see her children as communicable disease central since I've been pg. and have tried to avoid them. They always have something horrible it seems. How does everyone else handle these situations?
Visiting others in Hospital when PG
You have to do what you feel is best. If you are not comfortable then by all means take care of yourself... that said...
If it were not safe to go visit in the hospital while pregnant than all pregnant hospital workers would need to take leave immediately upon discovering they are pregnant. That doesn't happen.
Also, some of my prenatal testing and blood work happens in a hospital... ultrasounds etc. If it weren't safe I guess this wouldn't be the case? They also offer hospital tours and classes right at the hospital for expectant mothers. Again, they wouldn't do this if it weren't safe.
If all small children were a risk to pregnant women than all woman who had small children living at home would have to move out immediately upon discovering they were pregnant. All pregnant teachers and daycare workers would need to leave their jobs immediately as well. That doesn't happen either.
5th's disease could be an issue I suppose. But statistically speaking the chances that you've never been exposed and are not already immune are crazy. Your doctor can do a test to check for the presence of antibodies if you would like. I was a pregnant teacher with 5ths in my classroom. One of my own children developed 5ths while I pregnant. No issues.
So you asked how I handle these situations? Well, I'd be at the hospital and I'd be watching the kids.
I hope you work this out with yourself and your family.
I'd be visiting my sister and watching her kids too. I mean what happens I you have a second or third child and your older kids are in daycare or public school, yes they will bring home "stuff" and you'll just deal with it
I would go see the doctor and make sure all your antibody tests are up to date, but that's a normal part of prenatals. Or if you were never vaxed and didn't catch a few of the "childhood" diseases normally then maybe some would be a cause for concern but that would be something to discuss with your care provider
But I wouldn't and haven't for a second hesitate to go see a family member in the hospital.
I agree with the women above. I wouldn't want to live in fear of all communicable disease, and it's important to be supportive of our family members.
Our family isn't big on kissing each other "hello" or lots of food/drink sharing, but if yours is, that is something I would skip out on -- and permanently. I know it's highly cultural and it might be really shocking for some people to be told "No thanks!" to a kiss on the cheek from Auntie, but I think that's a fair and reasonable precaution.
CMV is only transmitted through bodily fluids, so skipping a kiss hello and declining a sip of someone else's juice + standard hygiene (washing hands 30+ seconds with soap, don't touch eyes/nose/mouth without washing, etc.) should take care of that worry, and I'm guessing the same is true for most diseases short of the airborne.
I do think it's a little shocking your sister didn't mention her kid had 5ths to you until after you spent time with her, but it's usually not contagious by the time you can diagnose it. Also, she probably just didn't know it was of particular risk to pregnant women because it's not "something awful" for kids-- they get over it on their own with no real consequences, and most adults are immune.
I have to agree with the others. I suppose I also have a bit of a high threshold for germs- I'm an RN, and work full time, so you can imagine, I'm exposed to lots of everything. There are a few isolation patients I won't take (like shingles) but all last week I took care of someone with a MRSA infection, I just am really rabid about handwashing. Our bodies really do generally protect those little beans, with the exception of a few extreme bugs.
I'm one of those people who truly believes that what we think we can control is really mostly an illusion... after years of working in ERs and now oncology and watching people randomly struck down in the prime of life through no fault of their own... I take reasonable precautions with everything in my life but I don't spend my time worrying about something bad happening. Because it seems that bad things often happen whether you prevent them or not. I just live each day at a time with gratitude.
It's one thing if your sister was in serious condition but thankfully this is not the case. Also it would be different if you had children who were ill and had to care for them, but these are your sisters children and there are likely other people who are not pregnant who can take on the risk.
When I was pregnant if I had the choice I avoided situations where I was putting my pregnancy at risk.
I work in a hospital (well, an outpatient clinic, but it requires my regular attendance at the hospital), I'm in my first trimester, and I go into work every day without fear. So have all the (many, many, MANY) pregnant nurses, doctors, physical therapists, nurses' aides, nurse practitioners, physicians' assistants, etc., etc., etc., that I have known. Same with being around littles. However would kindergarten teachers manage?
There are specific things to avoid, like rubella if you're not immune yourself, shingles, chemotherapy meds (but really only handling them --- visiting should be OK), a couple of the prostate meds.
I live in fear of miscarriage, too, but walking into the hospital is not one of the things to fear.
My husband’s grandfather was quite suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor which was surgically removed and he was subsequently in the ICU unit of a local hospital in the late stages of my last pregnancy. As we did not know what time he had left, I spent every opportunity to visit with him, as he was so excited about the upcoming birth of our daughter. Although I always knew he loved me as he did his very own grandchildren, he wasn’t a very vocal man when it came into putting it into words – but the very first time I visited, he grabbed my hand on the way out the door, pulled me back, and made it a point to put it into words, “I love you.” It meant the world to me. I was so thankful that I chose to spend this time with him. He passed in a nursing home when our daughter was 2 weeks old.
With that being said, he was in the ICU unit and the nursing staff were well aware of my condition and frequent visits. They told me they’d be certain to let me know if they were in contact with any communicable diseases or if there were any in the ICU unit (which could be accessed without passing by any of the other patient areas). I’m not certain if it had anything to do with my own condition, but when he was transferred out of ICU, he was put in a room that was just around the corner from labor/delivery/nursery, so it was an area of the hospital where patients with communicable diseases would not have been.
For me, it’s a matter of weighing risks. In my case, I saw little risk to myself or my baby. But I’m certain I would have chosen differently if there had been others with riskier diseases in ICU at the same time, etc.