Coronavirus & Pregnancy: What Pregnant Women Need to Know During This Unprecedented Time

The coronavirus pandemic has directly or indirectly affected each one of us as the infection cases rise by each day. There is also a surging rise in the number of death tolls witnessed in some of the worst-hit nations. The amusing statistics have made us wary as we try to identify the most vulnerable group. Pregnant women are left wondering whether the COVID-19 poses a threat to them and their unborn babies. It is such a trying moment in the history of the world since we are experiencing the pandemic for the very first time.

Research is currently underway to try and eliminate some doubts regarding the virus. One of the most anticipated research results delves into the effects of the virus on pregnant women. The research also tries to figure out the effects it will have on the unborn. Most women are worried about the possibility of failing to complete the pregnancy term which may instigate them to deliver in the middle of the pandemic. Most hospitals have come up with a directive to limit the number of people that should accompany the expectant mothers to clinics to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

Let us take a look at some valuable tips to help pregnant women during this pandemic.

Expectant mothers are being asked to embrace the drastic changes that have affected the health sectors. They are encouraged to be flexible and prepared to adjust to new birth plans and hospital stays regulations. They asked to be prepared to usher in the new visitor in the absence of other important parties. Women should also make use of the ovulation calculator, online platforms and tools to reach out to their health care providers. It is also wise to fit in support groups to help them cope with the rapidly changing situations.

When admitted it is being recommended that most of these women should stick to social media platforms to reach out to family and friends. In case of any signs of depression, expectant mothers should depend on the health care provider for further support.

Again, pregnant women should be vigilant and keen to enhance their immune systems since they are fighting for two lives. It is a wise thing they keep off large gatherings by maintaining social distancing. Health experts also recommend that these women should try to keep their vitamin D on check. Lockdowns have triggered most people to stay in their homes limiting their movements. In turn, people may fail to get quality sunlight for proper vitamin D absorption. There is a reduced risk of premature births when a woman has 40 ng/ml levels of vitamin D blood serum.

Pregnant women are also advised to refrain from creating unnecessary anxiety and remain calm during this pandemic. They must carry on with their prenatal care visits to ensure that the journey is smooth. Also, they are requested to keep close contact with their physicians to understand what is and is not feasible during this pandemic.

Why are pregnant women in the vulnerable group?

Pregnant women are categorized among the vulnerable group that is more susceptible to get the infection. Health experts advise every pregnant woman to observe social distancing to limit social contact. They are not safe and they need to be treated differently compared to the general population. A fact is that pregnancy can affect how the body handles the introduction of foreign bodies like viruses. Obstetricians and midwives are conversant with this fact since they deal with similar cases. However, there is no concise or concluded finding that a pregnant woman stands at a higher risk of acquiring complications from the virus when compared to other healthy individuals. The reason why pregnant women were labeled as vulnerable is mainly to enforce precautions to avoid later consequences. There are cases where other viral infections have adversely affected pregnant women.

How is a pregnant woman tested for coronavirus?

The testing process is dynamic and new methods are coming up as the virus spreads. The word is only people with severe symptoms are being tested in most hospitals. However, if you have the means and resources of affording your screening then you are encouraged to do the test like everyone else. The process begins when swabs are taken from your mouth and nose. If you are pregnant and you test positive with the virus contact your antenatal team as soon as possible. If you have mild symptoms it is wise to seek home treatment but when the symptoms are severe you need better medical assistance.

Should I attend my antenatal postnatal appointments?

You need to stick to your antenatal and postnatal visit routine although new ways of doing the same more safely are being derived. It is essential to know how you and your baby are fairings during the pregnancy journey. Try to stick to your normal routine by attending antenatal care as usual. However, you need to check with your facility about the number of people that should accompany you during the visit. Some facilities have come up with stringent measures to deter people from visiting the hospital with the goal of minimizing the risk of contracting the virus. It is also advised if you have corona like symptoms you should stay home and take up the 14-day self-quarantine period.

Maternity care is a very vital step during the pregnancy window since it aims at reducing the number of complications during the window. You should always have the best interest if protecting your unborn child by attending all of your appointments even during this period. Utilize the contact information of your maternity team in case of any eventuality. Alert them when you cancel an appointment or in case of a delay o that they can adjust to fit in your schedule because you share a common goal and agenda.

The following valuable tips and advice may help you.

Keep close contact with your maternity unit and alert them when you plan to attend a routine scan, appointment or visit, The staffing requirements are changing and every facility has its requirements that must be followed to help fight the ongoing menace.

When you intend to make a regular check-up or visit with your doctor with a strong conviction that tests are not required it is wise to utilize the technology. You can work with phones or videoconferencing platforms to conduct an appointment with your doctor.

Tests might be conducted from the 26 weeks which should trigger you to make a planned visit to the facility. Your maternal team should get the chance to access your situation unless you are in the recommended 14-day self-quarantine period. When the visits are frequent the maternal team should make plans to see how they can help you minimize the trips.

In case you miss an appointment mainly due to fear of contracting the deadly virus then you ca result in rearranging the appointment with your team.

You should expect the following:

Your maternal team may take longer than expected to respond to your call since hospitals are congested with more serious and complicated cases.

Utilize the emergency contact details given to you in case you encounter a pregnancy problem. Use the helpline of there is the course for alarm and impending danger.

If you realize that you have symptoms related to coronavirus it is advisable to liaise with your maternal team so that you can strike a balance and see the way forward since you will not be required to make the routine clinic check-ups.

You will also receive a request to reduce the number of people who accompany you during your appointments. Some clinics and health facilities may request you to attend the clinic alone to avoid crowding by observing the regulations.

You should not hurry to make your own decisions without consulting your maternal team. Do not reduce the number of visits without consulting them.

Can having coronavirus affect how you give birth?

It is fair to say that there is no research conducted to determine whether it's safe for a woman to deliver normally or by cesarean if they have the virus. It is also a good thing to say that you need close monitoring during this critical moment. You should stick to your birth plan so that everything moves on as planned. However, if you are symptomatic and have issues with your breathing pattern it is recommended that a cesarean should follow. Some couples would prefer to have a water birth but research indicates that the virus may be present in the feaces if you are infected. You should refrain from such a plan so that you keep the people around you and your kid safe.

Will my baby be tested for coronavirus?

The answer is Yes. If a mother is symptomatic and delivers or it is confirmed they have coronavirus then the child has to be tested for coronavirus. The pregnant women are not an exemption to the ordinary people who appear to be symptomatic. If they display corona like symptoms they should be isolated and assessed to determine their fate. If the mother is COVID-19 positive they should be placed in an isolation room as they wait to deliver. If they successfully deliver the child is to be isolated in another room and tested for COVID-19. However, your obstetrician will guide you further depending on the severity of your case.

Will you get a chance to kangaroo with your baby if you have coronavirus?

Standard practice requires that the mother should be kept close to the baby after birth if at all the baby doesn't require neonatal care. However, if the mother is COVID- 19 positive some doctors are forced to isolate the two in different rooms until the 14-day rule is adhered to. The baby may need feeding and bonding which is a critical issue but it may fail to get the privileges until the mother recovers. The kangaroo could be made possible by working with the next kin possibly the father. The doctors will come up with a tailored solution to help you enjoy the presence of your child as you catch up with the feeding and bonding routines. The process is prone to change as the experts discover new things about the virus.

Will I be able to breastfeed my baby?

There is no study conducted that shows the virus can be transmitted through breast milk even though it is a fluid. The advice experts are giving is that breast milk is vital for any child since it helps them grow as well as enhancing their immunity. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the possibility of transmitting the virus. However, the approved ways of contracting the virus still hold when dealing with a baby. Close contact may lead to a transmission since you may share the airborne droplets that may be infected with the virus. However, consult your maternity team so that you get the record straight. They will share some possible risks, precautions, and benefits which you ought to follow to help safeguard the well being of your child.

Below are some do's and don'ts that you should observe in case you decide to breastfeed.

It is advisable to wash and sanitize your hands before coming into contact with the baby bottles, breast pump or even your baby.

Restrain yourself from coughing directly towards your child while breastfeeding them.

You could also gear up by wearing masks while breastfeeding them to minimize the chances of infecting your child.

Always keep the feeding items like the pump clean all the time probably after use.

What are some of the effects coronavirus can have on my baby?

The research is still on the initial stages since the pandemic is new and so far there is no evidence indicating that you can pass on the virus to your unborn child. Experts speculate that the virus cannot cause harm to an unborn child. There are cases of newborn babies contracting the virus but it still yet to be determined whether they were infected before or after birth.