There is an overwhelming amount of news stories, social media and conversation about COVID-19 at the moment as we all struggle to process the impact on our lives. In particular how Coronavirus affects pregnancy.
It is understandable that pregnant women will have a sense of anxiety about their own health and that of their unborn babies at this time.
We do not wish to add to this by adding another opinion. Instead we would like to direct you to some reliable sources of information on the subject so that you avoid ‘fake news’ and hysteria.
The first is from the Royal Australian and NZ College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG). https://ranzcog.edu.au/statements-guidelines/covid-19-statement
They state, “at this time, pregnant women do not appear to be more severely unwell if they develop COVID-19 infection than the general population. It is expected the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms. … Furthermore, there is also no evidence that the virus can pass to your developing baby while you are pregnant (this is called vertical transmission). There is also no evidence that the virus will cause abnormalities in your baby.”
They also note, “Newborn babies and infants do not appear to be at increased risk of complications from the infection. Women who wish to breastfeed their babies should be encouraged and supported to do so. At the moment there is no evidence that the virus is carried in breastmilk and, therefore, the well-recognised benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of COVID-19 through breastmilk.”
RANZCOG suggest the following preventative measures, which are the same as for the general population:
- Hand washing regularly and frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- Avoidance of anyone who is coughing and sneezing
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Social-distancing and reducing general community exposure
- Early reporting and investigation of symptoms
- Prompt access to appropriate treatment and supportive measures if infection is significant
While it will not influence response to COVID-19 infection, everyone will reduce their risk of influenza through having the regular flu vaccination, which is very safe and recommended in pregnancy.
Changes to your care might occur, so please don’t be concerned if your Health Care Providers recommend the following:
- Reducing, postponing and/or increasing the interval between antenatal visits
- Shortening the duration of antenatal visits
- Using telehealth consultations as a replacement, or in addition, to routine visits
- Avoiding face to face antenatal classes
- Limiting visitors (partner only) while in hospital
- Earlier discharge from hospital than would otherwise be planned
Another trusted source of information is the Australian Government’s own website: www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov which is updated frequently with the most current information.
Remember to look after yourself during these uncertain times… Sleep well, eat well, get some gentle exercise. Talk to your friends on the phone.
If you are at all worried or unsure, contact your Health Care Provider. Your midwife, obstetrician or GP will know the most about your individual circumstances and will be able to provide the best advice for you.
We wish you the best during your pregnancy and for the birth of your baby.