COVID-19 AND PREGNANCY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Pregnancy can be stressful, we know this.
Of course, being pregnant during the spread of a global pandemic can definitely be overwhelming. If you are currently pregnant, we understand how worried you may feel.
Your mind has most likely been tossing and turning with questions about how COVID-19 would affect you and your baby.
As usual, we are here for you. Here are some vital things about COVID-19 and your pregnancy that you need to know.
What Is COVID-19?
Pandemic… Coronavirus… COVID-19.
We have heard these terms almost a zillion times these past few months. But what exactly is the COVID-19?
Simply put, it is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus called SARS COV-2
And yes, it is very, very real.
No, it is not a “white man’s disease”. Neither does it affect only “rich people”.
Anybody can get infected because it spreads through human interaction. One can get infected by staying close to an infected person who is coughing or sneezing. The virus can even be contracted by touching an infected person or surface, then touching one’s eyes, mouth or nose.
What do you feel if you get it?
Most signs usually appear within 2 – 14 days after exposure. The common symptoms of covid-19 include;
- Cough and/or sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Body pain
- Loss of taste or smell
If you or anyone around you has any of these symptoms, please stay at home and contact the NCDC (Nigerian Center for Disease Control) as soon as possible.
Note that some people may be infected and not show symptoms. These people can still spread the virus.
COVID-19 and Pregnancy
A lot is still unknown about the new coronavirus, although a lot of research is ongoing.
It is already known that people with underlying health conditions are more likely to have complications. However, no evidence suggests that pregnant women without underlying health conditions face such risks.
Furthermore, there are a lot of unknowns about how COVID-19 affects pregnancy. As an expecting mom, you are strongly advised to adhere strictly to the social distancing guidelines. Also take extra care to follow proper hygiene by regular hand washing and sanitizing.
COVID-19 And Your Birth Plan
Yes, we know. You already have a lot of plans in place, from your hospital, to your doctor, to your birthing partner, to your birthing videos and pictures, and many more.
Unfortunately, some of these plans may have to change. The level of change may be different for each hospital or birthing center, but here are a few things that you should prepare you mind for;
- Change of birthing location or center.
- Unavailability of your preferred doctor or nurse
- Compulsory screening for COVID-19
- Your birthing partner being restricted from entering the delivery room.
- Your doctors, nurses and you may be required to wear protective gear. `
- Restrictions on your movement
- Restrictions on the amount of visitors you can have
COVID -19 and Your Unborn Baby
It is still uncertain whether or not coronavirus can be transferred from mother to child.
Current research however suggests that it is very unlikely. In some countries it is advised though that babies born to mothers who have COVID-19 be separated from their moms for 14 days. This may have negative effects on breastfeeding. If you are well enough and choose to have skin to skin and/or breastfeed and your baby is stable, nothing stops you from doing so following these precautions.
Wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pumps or bottles
Try to avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby
Wearing a mask or face covering when carrying baby
Follow recommendations for pump or bottle cleaning before and after use
Express your breastmilk and consider asking someone who is well to feed your babyRCOG. Corona Virus Infection and Pregnancy: Information For Pregnant Women and Their Families. Uhttps://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/#suspected Accessed 13/8/2020
The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the risks.
We know, we know. This is a very distressing thought. However, it is only for a short period of time, and it is for the ultimate benefit of you and your baby.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The best way to do this is to practice social distancing, especially if you are pregnant. Even if there is no confirmed case in your area, please stay at home as much as possible.
Stock up on essential items if you can. If you must go out in public, always wear your face mask and never forget your hand sanitizer at home.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left the world at large in a state of shock and uncertainty.
These are stressful times, and we wish the pandemic would just go away. However, for as long as it is here, we need to do our part to live through it. This is only possible if we follow all guidelines that have been laid down for us.
Wash your hands regularly. Sanitize frequently touched surfaces like door handles, tables, stairways, etc. regularly. Practice social distancing, avoid physical touch as much as possible. Doing this would not only protect you, but would protect everyone around you, including your unborn child.
It is our honest hope that you stay safe during these trying times. Once again, please remember to wash your hands and sanitize!
- RCOG. Corona Virus Infection and Pregnancy: Information For Pregnant Women and Their Families. Uhttps://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/#suspected Accessed 13/8/2020
- Korin Miller 2020,What to Know About Coronavirus if You’re Pregnant, What to Expect, Viewed on August 8, 2020, <https://www.whattoexpect.com/news/pregnancy/coronavirus-during-pregnancy/>.
- Beata Mostafavi 2020, 12Things to Know About COVID-19 and Pregnancy, University of Michigan, Viewed on August 8, 2020, <https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/womens-health/12-things-to-know-about-covid-19-and-pregnancy>.