Are you pregnant this 2020? Or have you been pregnant during the Corona virus pandemic? Then let’s talk!
What a year it’s been so far. 2020 has literally been passing away in lock down with our loved ones. Many of my lovely family/friends are expecting their little bundle of joys also, and what’s sad is that we won’t be able to welcome home the baby like the good old days. Social distancing rules you know!
Pregnancy is a such special time in an expecting mother’s life. The whole 9 months carrying the baby and then going through the labour stage just so you can finally meet your little bundle of joy. However, for expectant mothers facing the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic (COVID-19) – nerves, fear, anxiety and uncertainty are all looming in the air.
I decided to do some research for my fellow lovely pregnant ladies who are worried what will happen now that they are nearing the birth of their new baby.
For those who have been sleeping in a bubble like sleeping beauty and have no clue what Covid-19 is (highly unlikely), you can read here
Why have my prenatal check-ups been cancelled?
Many health practices across the nation have closed due the corona virus outbreak. And some have limited their opening hours with only a few members of staff available for any emergency’s. Due to the whole social distancing rules, it no longer makes sense to keep public places open. Only hospitals remain open and that too very limitedly.
It can be fearful leaving your home especially if you are an expecting mother, due to the dangers that can be caused. Many clinics have adapted a new way of checking up on their patients via telephone or video call. Some clinics are still offering the regular scan check-ups however these are limited to a set time and are now kept very short.
The short timings are to protect pregnant women from getting infected and will only be seen live if necessary.
You would be classed under a low or high risk pregnancy and depending on your category the number of times you physically see your midwife will depend on it.
Can I pass on the corona virus disease (COVID-19) to my baby?
According to research it is not yet proven whether Corona virus can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. Upon doing research the University of Oxford did not find any virus in the vaginal fluid, in cord blood, amniotic fluid, placenta or breast milk. However this information is still emerging as more research is conducted daily.
The best thing you can do is to take extra care of yourself during this pandemic and all necessary precautions to prevent yourself from contracting Corona virus.
How can you prevent your body from contacting the virus? Read here.
Will I have to give birth at home?
Hospitals are still open and will remain open for expectant mothers to come in and have their baby. Rest assured you will NOT be turned away.
Some precautions have however been put in place such as: Immediate discharge, as long as both mum and baby are well, no one can join the expectant mother in the birth room, it will be limited to a few midwives only and strictly NO visitors. Some hospitals are allowing one birth partner to also join the mother however each hospital is to it’s own. If you are expecting, double check with your midwife and midwifery unit at the hospital you will be delivering your baby at, they should be able to guide you more .
If and when travelling to the hospital, please ensure you are masked up and have sanitizer with you. Hospitals are a place where lots of germs live and we would hope they have a separate entrance for Covid-19 victims and other health patients. However if this is not the case then just take extra pre-caution:) Please!
Can my birth partner be in the room when I give birth?
Within the UK many hospitals are following different rules. It does all come down to the condition of the expectant mother and if she needs to have support besides her. Now, although I do believe every women when in that labour room needs that extra support from their loved one, 2020 has changed the game.
Some hospitals are allowing the birth partner to enter as long as they are wearing a mask and washing their hands constantly. However in some hospitals we find this is not the case and a birth partner is not allowed.
Once again double check with your midwife and ensure she has it written in the notes that you WILL be bringing along your partner once discussed all is OK.
From this we can understand the reason for this action is to reduce contact and the number of people with a woman while she is giving birth, and that is very logical. The more the people the more at risk it can be for everyone around.
Coping with pregnancy and Covid-19
Although this pandemic is something we can not control, we can control one thing and that is our emotions. Feelings of anxiety are normal during pregnancy and have become even more for mothers who are having babies in 2020. Having a plan in place for your birth can help ease the anxiety and give you more control of your senses.
Do everything as normal at home, everything you would do if you were pregnant and this pandemic didn’t exist – at home only. You can do simple things to relax at home, do exercises, take walks in the garden, practice birth exercises and give your midwife a call if you are uncertain about anything. Continue eating well and keep hydrated, take selfies, cherish the moments with your belly because they don’t stay in the belly forever.
What questions should I ask my midwife?
You can ask as many questions as you like. There is no limit. If you ever feel unsure about anything, such as your baby isn’t kicking enough or your not feeling hungry like you did before – there is no silly question. Simply pick up the phone and ask your midwife. That is what they are there for. You can ask questions such as:
- Will giving birth at the hospital put me at risk of catching Corona virus?
- Can my baby become seriously ill if he catches Corona virus?
- Have any of the mothers had corona virus whilst giving birth?
- Shall I bring my own sanitizer and masks or will you provide?
- How do you separate people with the COVID-19 virus from people who have not got it?
- Will the midwives wear protective clothing?
- Will I have to wear protective clothing when giving birth?
- Am I allowed to bring my birth partner with me? If not, why not?
- Will baby stay with me after I have given birth or will we be separated? If so, why?
- Am I able to breastfeed my baby?
- If my labour is not fast will you have to give me a c-section to speed up the time?
Should I pack anything special in my hospital bag during Corona Virus?
If you haven’t already packed your hospital bag, you can check out the full list of items you will need 🙂 Read here
You shouldn’t need to pack too much, depending on the situation if everything is OK, then you should be discharged straight away. However this all depends on the type of birth you have.
To stay on the safe side you could pack a pair of face masks for when you leave the hospital.
Once I have given birth, How can i protect my newborn from the COVID-19 virus?
The best thing you can do is to keep indoors and stay safe. Away from public. Keep it simple. Stick to just your family and don’t ask for visitors right now. Send a picture or do a video call with all your far relatives and friends so they get to see the baby, however I would strictly avoid gatherings and visits due to the sensitivity of the new born’s life and the virus. Also make sure members living with you, such as partner, children etc. always wash their hands and keep sanitized when around the newborn baby.
It can be disheartening not having your close family or friends visit, however think of the positive side. It gives you all this extra bonding time with your new born baby without having to worry or faff around as you would, if you had guests.
Am I at high risk of catching Corona virus because I’m pregnant?
As far as research shows, pregnant women are not at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus than any other group of people.
It does all depend on the health of the mother. For example if you had underlying health issues such as diabetes or respiratory problems, it would be better off to take extra precaution. But just from being pregnant does not put you at high risk.
Just like the general public, the same rules will apply to pregnant mothers. Some of those are:
- Avoid contact with anyone displaying symptoms of corona virus disease.
- Social distance atleast 6ft apart.
- Self isolate if you feel slight weakness.
- Avoid public transport.
- Work from home, where possible.
- Avoid gatherings in public spaces, whether large or small.
- Avoid physical gatherings with friends and family.
- Use telephone, text or video calls to contact your midwife.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
Can I safely breastfeed my baby during this pandemic?
YES! It’s totally fine to begin or continue breastfeeding your baby during this pandemic. Research shows that, COVID-19 virus is not transmitted through breast milk.
If you have symptoms of the virus and fear you may become a suspect, it is important to seek medical care early and follow instructions from your health care professional. Mothers can wear a mask if they have to and continue breast feeding along with washing their hands frequently. If for health reasons you can not breast feed then you can always express the milk and store it or switch to formula.
I advise expectant mothers to find out what options are available to you from your healthcare professional. Any concerns, it’s best to let your midwife know straight away. They are only a simple phone call away.
Prayers from my family to yours. x