Pregnancy and COVID-19
COVID-19 or Coronavirus Disease 2019 is a fast growing disease which emerged from the Chinese state of Wuhan in December 2019. It causes severe illness in the form of common cold and respiratory illness, which can potentially result in death. It mainly spreads by close contact with an infected person. The WHO has declared it as a global pandemic and the governments from all over the world are trying their best to fight the COVID-19.
What are the effects of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on pregnant women?
As COVID-19 is a new virus, the data available on it is very limited. Some of the recent studies based on the available data have shown that it does not have any extra effect on pregnant women and also that it cannot be passed on to a baby during the pregnancy period. Pregnant women are as vulnerable to the coronavirus as the general public. They experience the same mild flu or cold like symptoms. There have not been any reported deaths of pregnant women due to COVID-19 yet. To be on the safe side, pregnant women who are suspected of having the coronavirus are asked to go to restricted units for the delivery of their children. The immune system of the pregnant women becomes weak during labour making it difficult for them to fight any kind of infection.
What effect does the COVID-19 have on the baby if the mother is diagnosed with the infection?
According to the limited data available about the COVID-19, there is no evidence that suggests that a pregnant women is in danger of having a miscarriage because of the virus. There is also no evidence that suggests that it can be passed on to the baby from the mother, so there is a very rare possibility that it can cause any kind of abnormality in the baby.
Some pregnant women in China who had the COVID-19 symptoms delivered the babies prematurely. But still it is unclear whether it was due to the coronavirus symptoms or because of the decision made by the doctors due to the decreasing health of the women. There is no evidence yet to support these theories due to limited availability of data. There is also no evidence available that the virus can be carried in the breast milk too.
What can be done to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus?
The best way to reduce the effects of COVID-19 according to the NHS website is to wash your hands regularly and especially after coming back from the workplace, public places to your home. Maintaining good hygiene is crucial to stop the spread of the virus and practicing good social distancing too. You should also try to stay away from children who may be carriers of the virus.
What is the travel advice for pregnant women?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the United Kingdom has been updating regular advice for the evolving dangers of Covid-19. According to them, the pregnant women and all other individuals should have proper travel insurance before they travel to any place. Your travel insurance should cover all the expenses for the care and birth of your newborn baby, if the baby is born while you are somewhere abroad.
What should I do if I am exposed to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
A pregnant woman with either a continuous cough or a high temperature should stay at home for at least 7 to 8 days. They should also refrain themselves from going to the hospital, pharmacy or a GP surgery. If you are facing the symptoms of COVID-19, you should immediately call the maternity unit which you are visiting for regular checkups.
If you have a feeling that your condition is worsening, you cannot get better at home or the symptoms do not go away after a period of 7 to 8 days, you should immediately use the assistance of the online coronavirus service. During your isolation period if you have a constant concern about the well-being of your baby, you should at once again contact your maternity team. They will provide you with further details whether you should stay at home or should go to the hospital immediately.
How will the patient be tested for COVID-19?
The procedure of treating the COVID-19 is changing at a high speed. The people with serious symptoms and who require immediate admission to the hospital are tested. The procedure for testing is the same for the pregnant as well as all other individuals. This procedure includes taking swabs from the nose and mouth. The patients can also be asked to cough up sputum, which is a mixture of mucus and saliva.
What should be done if someone pregnant tests positive for COVID-19?
The antenatal team or midwife should be contacted to make them know about your diagnosis if you are tested positive for COVID-19. If the symptoms are mild or zero, they will advise you to recover at home. You will be shifted to the hospital only if you have severe symptoms.
There is still little data on the effects of COVID-19 on the child but if you become seriously ill it can cause some complications of premature birth or fetal growth restriction.
Better to Be Safe than Sorry
The Coronavirus is so new that we do not know all the details about it as of yet. Keep an eye on the new as much as possible as new developments are constantly emerging about the virus and what it entails. We understand that this is an uncertain time for many pregnant women. Don’t let this disease steal from the amazing joy of expecting a new baby. Here are some positive ideas to get you through this tricky time: Focus on eating colourful fruits and vegetables to improve your immune system, take a daily brisk walk or do exercises from your home living room, read that antenatal book you haven’t been able to open until now, go to bed early to make sure you are getting sufficient rest, watch a comedy TV show to get you laughing – laughter is medicine too! We are here for you and if you are worried at any stage of your pregnancy we are still carrying out clinically indicated ultrasound scans. We are practicing high levels of infection control in our clinics to ensure your safety and the safety of our staff. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us. Take care and stay safe.