During pregnancy, most women have more pressing concerns than coronavirus. From the cramps to antenatal clinics, and even getting the right birth plan; COVID-19 may be the last subject on your mind.
However, studies have shown that the virus also affects moms-to-be, and in some cases, their unborn babies.
In this article, you’d find all you need to know about childbirth and pregnancy in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Table of contents:
- First, What Is COVID-19?
- How Does COVID-19 Affect Pregnancy & Childbirth?
- Effect of COVID-19 on Childbirth
- 5 Things to Do During Pregnancy and Childbirth with COVID-19
- What to Do If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms
First, What Is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, is an infectious condition caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In most cases, people infected with this virus experience some degree of respiratory illness. Although most individuals with COVID-19 recover without any special treatment, older people and pregnant women are more likely to develop serious symptoms.
Medical experts around the world agree that the best way to prevent and reduce the transmission rate of the virus is to be well informed about the disease and how the virus spreads. During pregnancy and childbirth, this information is much more important.
Don’t Stop Reading!
How Does COVID-19 Affect Pregnancy & Childbirth?
Sadly, pregnancy and childbirth increase the risk of having more serious symptoms of COVID-19.
Although the overall risk of getting severe symptoms of COVID-19 is low, pregnancy reduces your immune function, making you more susceptible to serious illness due to Coronavirus in this period.
Furthermore, this risk increases greatly in the first two days after childbirth. In fact, studies show that pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to need intensive care with a ventilator than non-pregnant women.
In addition, the risk of preterm delivery (birth before the 37th week) increases significantly in women with COVID-19.
Also, underlying conditions like hypertension, obesity, and gestational diabetes increase a pregnant woman’s risk of having severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Effect of COVID-19 on Childbirth
Here’s the fact: You’re going to get all the care and support you need.
To minimize human contact in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, many hospitals have switched to telemedicine and other online resources for antenatal clinics and consultations. In addition, new hospital policies restrict partners, friends, and family from sitting in on the delivery day.
Some women are even unable to hold their children in the first month after childbirth due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Sadly, this may increase the risk of postpartum depression and other maternal mental health conditions.
Although a recent study shows that 6 in 10 women claim that they received inadequate support during pregnancy and childbirth, your story does not have to be this way.
In fact, all you need is proper information and the right plan.
Thankfully, you’d find all that and more in this article!
5 Things to Do During Pregnancy and Childbirth with COVID-19
As we mentioned earlier, all you need to stay healthy and happy throughout pregnancy and childbirth during the COVID-19 pandemic is the right information.
To help you out, we’ve compiled an effective list of 5 things to do in this period:
1. Follow The Rules
This time, the rules are not made to be broken.
As you prepare for the arrival of your precious one in these strange times, it is really important that you follow the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In this period, you need to:
- Wash your hands as often as you can.
- Avoid sick people.
- Wear a mask.
- Clean and disinfect all frequently-touched surfaces.
These recommendations, including the ones unique to your country, are designed for your (and your baby’s) safety.
2. Go for Home Deliveries
As much as you can, don’t go out.
A safer option is to stay indoors and order all you need. In fact, your groceries can be ordered online and delivered to your doorstep after all COVID-19 protocols have been followed.
3. Start A Healthy Diet
As we mentioned here, your diet is an important part of your pregnancy and childbirth journey. In this period, you need to ensure that you’re getting the right mix of carbs, proteins, vitamins, essential fats, and of course, water.
This is really important becomes the right diet would boost your immune system and protect you from contracting the virus.
You can find all the info you need to start your healthy pregnancy diet in this article.
4. Exercise Often
Following the right exercise routine is really important during pregnancy. As you prepare for childbirth, kegel exercise strengthens your pelvic floor and prepares your body for delivery. In addition, regular walks in the park strengthen your lungs and keep your immune system healthy enough to fight the virus.
5. Draw Up Birth Plan
The first step is to calculate your conception and estimated delivery dates. Once you do, you can begin to draw up your birth plan.
This involves planning out your antenatal clinics and packing your delivery bag that includes all COVID-19 protective equipment.
What to Do If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms
The first step is to contact the Centre for Disease Control. Once you get tested, your healthcare providers would supply all you need to stay safe and healthy in this period.
Thankfully, it is possible to have a safe labor and delivery even with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Furthermore, if you think you may have been exposed to the virus, please contact your healthcare provider to get tested.
Finally, it is important to remember that a lot of studies are still going into the effects of Coronavirus and pregnancy or childbirth. At this point, the best thing you can do is to follow all the guidelines in this article and stay as safe as you can.
Stay safe, Mama.
- Allotey J, et al. (2020). Clinical manifestations, risk factors, and maternal and perinatal outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 in pregnancy: Living systematic review and meta-analysis.
- Breastfeeding and caring for newborns if you have COVID-19. (2021).
- Zambrano LD, et al. (2020). Update: Characteristics of symptomatic women of reproductive age with laboratory-confirmed SARS-COV-2 infection by pregnancy status — United States, January 22–October 3, 2020.