Pregnancy is a crucial period in a woman’s life. It is always accompanied with its own surprises and stress because of the hormonal, emotional, bodily changes and more. During Pregnancy, an expecting mum is extremely cautious about her health, not because she prioritises her own well-being over others, but because she wants the very best for the tiny bundle of joy growing within. Covid-19 certainly wreaked havoc with most of such plans made by new mothers, adding an extra edge to their earmarked anguishes. Here are what you should know about being pregnant during Covid-19 pandemic.
Are pregnant women at risk of Covid-19?
According to World Health Organisation, Pregnant women or recently pregnant women who are older, overweight, and have pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes seem to have an increased risk of developing severe Covid-19. When pregnant women develop severe disease, they also seem to more often require care in intensive care units than non-pregnant women of reproductive age.
Due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some respiratory infections. It is therefore important that they take precautions to protect themselves against Covid-19, and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty in breathing) to their healthcare provider.
What can a pregnant woman do to reduce risk of contacting coronavirus?
- wash your hands regularly
- use a tissue when you or anyone in your family coughs or sneezes, discard it and wash your hands
- avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (these symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough)
- avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
- work from home, when possible
- avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together
- avoid gatherings with friends and family – keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media
- use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
Can Covid-19 be passed from a woman to an unborn baby or newborn?
According to World Health Organsation (WHO), there are no sufficient medical evidence that proves if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. To date, the active virus has not been found in samples of fluid around the baby in the womb or breast milk.
Can I still attend my antenatal/postnatal care appointments?
Your antenatal and postnatal appointments remain an important part of your maternity care to provide checks and screening on your health and your baby’s health. Contact your maternity care center or Hospital for the guidelines for safety in respect of Covid-19 and options for telephone consultations for matters that arise impromptu in between the scheduled date for antenatal.
Also, when you are in your third trimester, baby movement becomes very important and you will be ask by the Obstetrician/Gynecologist about it at every appointment. DO NOT WAIT until your next appointment to seek advice if you are worried about your baby’s movements. Contact your midwife or maternity unit immediately if you think your baby’s movements have slowed down, stopped or changed.
Will i have to wear a nose mask during labour/delivery?
The hospital may require you to wear a mask during labor and delivery. The CDC and NCDC recommends that “individuals wear a mask in public settings when around people who do not live in your household, especially when social distancing can’t be maintained”, and this is often the case during labor and delivery.
Its essential for pregnant mums to follow the guidelines provided by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19. I advice you to liaise with your Health care provider on your childbirth options and birth plan, these will enhance your birth experience and help reduce anxiety as your due date approaches. You may also contact your Health insurance company about the extent of your insurance cover in respect to antenatal, delivery and newborn emergencies, these will assist you and your partner to financial prepare for pregnancy and childbirth related expenses.