How Can Pregnant Women Protect Themselves From COVID-19?
Unfortunately COVID-19 is now a very serious global pandemic that is having some form of impact on everyone’s lives. Whilst the disease itself is still relatively new in terms of the scientific evidence behind it, it has shown no real treats to pregnant women but they should still air on the side of caution around COVID-19
The good news is that studies have shown that pregnant women are no more likely to catch COVID-19 than anyone else. The majority of those that manage to contract COVID-19 will only experience mild flu-like symptoms such as a cough, fever, headache and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is more likely to occur in older people but it can still occur in younger people too and can be especially dangerous for anyone with an underlying health condition.
If you do think you have some form of symptoms of COVID-19 it is advised that you contact your doctor for further advice who will refer you to get tested. You should also self isolate for at least 14 days after developing symptoms and avoid contact with anyone else within your household. If you feel your condition is worsening and not improving after 14 days then contact you GP again who may refer you on to get further medical attention and care.
COVID-19 and Babies
To date, there has been no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 puts pregnant women at an increased risk of miscarriage. Having said that, this is still a relatively new disease and all the variables are not yet fully known so it’s always best to keep a close eye on things if you do contract COVID-19 and are pregnant.
To date, there have been two cases of babies being born COVID positive after their mother contracted it and evidently passed it on to them. Thankfully both cases went on to fully recover and were discharged from hospital along with their mothers.
There have been reports of women being forced to deliver their babies early through emergency c sections as a result of them being unwell with COVID-19. It’s still unclear whether these premature births were a direct result of the Coronavirus itself or on the recommendations of medical staff for the benefits of the mothers recovery and overall health.
There also has been no evidence to date to suggest that COVID-19 has any impact on the development of the baby inside the womb. There are still studies being carried out to observe this theory in case any new evidence arises.
What can Pregnant Women do to Protect Themselves?
The most important thing to do at this time is to listen to the government and healthcare professionals’ advice. Currently there are a number of precautions and guidelines in place to help protect everyone from COVID-19. Here are some of the guidelines the government is advising that you should follow.
- Wash your hands regularly
- Use proper sneeze and cough etiquette to reduce the spread of germs
- Avoid contact with anyone who has or is developing symptoms of COVID-19
- Reduce your overall social interactions
- Stay away from young children as they can often be asymptomatic and could potentially be carrying the virus
- Only go outside for short periods of time for exercise and only make essential trips to the shops if you can’t get anyone to go for you.
- Avoid populated areas and work from home if possible
- If you do have to go out to a public place ensure you are abiding by social distancing measures.
Should I still attend all my Scans?
Yes, it’s still very important to ensure you still attend your regularly scheduled scans to make sure that your pregnancy is progressing as it should be. If you do feel you are developing symptoms, contact your midwife who will be able to advise you on what to do and possibly reschedule your appointment.
If you are nervous about attending public hospitals at this time for your scan then there is always the option to get your scan done in a private clinic where there will be less of a risk of potentially contracting COVID-19. At the moment private scan centres have very low levels of footfall through their doors so you may be safer attending one of these clinics instead of going to a busy hospital.
You should discuss this with your maternity team to ensure and seek out what is the best advice for your current situation. They will best be able to advise you on how to go about getting your scans done.
If you are concerned about potentially picking up COVID-19 whilst in your maternity hospital when giving birth, don’t be. Hospitals are working around the clock to ensure that they are doing everything they possibly can to reduce the spread of potential infections.
If you are considering changing from a hospital birth to a home birth it may be worth noting that at the moment the health services are currently in high demand with COVID-19 so if anything goes wrong during a home birth and you require an ambulance it might not be as quick to arrive as they normally would be.
Being pregnant is a wonderful thing and there are many women across the world going through the same experience now and having the same doubts and worries. As long as you follow the guidelines and take the proper precautions you shouldn’t have much to worry about. Keep yourself healthy, stay active and keep a positive mindset and things will be okay.