Being a pregnant mum already stirs up a lot of questions about the future. Throw the Coronavirus into the mix and it makes things a little more uncertain. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of today, there is no evidence that pregnant women are at a higher risk of catching the Coronavirus than the general population.
Pregnant women who contract the virus are expected to have mild-to-moderate flu-like symptoms. Therefore, you still need to take the necessary precautions and consider that the changes in your body and immune systems can make your more prone to be affected by respiratory infections.
In the meantime, WHO continues to review and update its information and will give advice once more evidence becomes available. Please check their recommendations and the guidelines issued by your local health authorities about pregnancy and the Coronavirus on a regular basis. In any case, talk to your doctor to get proper medical advice.
I’m pregnant. How can I protect myself and my baby?
You should take the same precautions to avoid the Coronavirus as everyone else. Here are some rules that can help protect yourself and your baby:
- Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Keep space between yourselves and others and avoid crowded spaces.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately. It’s also important that (affected by the Coronavirus or not) you continue your routine pregnancy appointments.
Should I be tested for the Coronavirus?
Testing protocols and whether you should be tested currently depend on where you live. Talk to your doctor.
The WHO recommends that pregnant women with Coronavirus symptoms do take priority.
Can the virus be passed on to my unborn baby?
We still do not know if a pregnant woman with the Coronavirus can pass it on to her foetus or baby during pregnancy. To date, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid. Please talk to your doctor if you have any other question related to the health of your baby.
How can I stay positive?
Try to stay away from social media, TV news, and negative people as much as possible. Turn to those who make you laugh and smile, TV shows or positive sources of news. Laughter and positive thinking support the immune system and the hormones you release will also make your baby happy!
Also, don’t believe in everything you read or hear. Social media is a hotpot for unfiltered, false information. Make sure you choose reliable sources, because fake news is widespread and can have a detrimental effect on your mental and physical health. Trusted sources are the WHO recommendations and the guidelines issued by your local health authorities about pregnancy and the Coronavirus, so check them on a regular basis. And in case of doubt, talk to your doctor to get proper medical advice.
What special care should I take during pregnancy?
All pregnant women, including those with the Coronavirus, have the right to the best care before childbirth. If you’re diagnosed with or are suspected of having the Coronavirus, everyone around you, including healthcare professionals, should take the appropriate precautions to reduce risks of infection. These include hand hygiene and the use of protective clothing like gloves, gowns and medical masks.
I have the Coronavirus, do I have to give birth by caesarean?
Talk to your doctor. The WHO says that Caesarean sections should only be performed when they are medically justified.
How you give birth is ultimately your choice. You should choose it based on your personal preferences and your doctor’s recommendations.
I’m pregnant. Can I meet my relatives and friends?
As a proud mother-to-be, you may be excited about showing your growing tummy to family and friends. But due to social distancing this is not the time for face-to-face meetings. So how about Facetime? We’re lucky to live in an era of Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts that make it easy to communicate with friends and family or share your stories with other pregnant mums in forums. So, for the moment stay in touch online.
What if a relative wants to touch my tummy?
As tempting as it may be, keep your personal distance, even with relatives. Do not shake hands, hug or let anyone touch your tummy or pick up your child during this time. All of this means ‘contact’ and will increase the risk of you or your baby getting the Coronavirus.
And if you’re worried about hurting their feelings, remind them of social distancing and how it protects your and your baby’s health, as well as their own.
How can I improve my state of mind?
Mindfulness is about paying attention to your feelings, your body and what is around you. It is also defined as “being in the moment”. It helps protect you from the anxiety caused by all the unpredictability and inability to control what’s going on.
Please make time for relaxing your pregnant body, mind, and soul. That will help you keep the stress levels low and support your immune system and health.
If you’d like to know more there are plenty of mindfulness apps out there.
What if I need professional help?
It’s normal to feel anxious and even slightly depressed during pregnancy. There are lots of hormones flying around inside your body at this time. Add in the fear of catching the Coronavirus and it’s only normal to feel worried.
If you feel overly anxious, don’t be afraid to seek professional psychological and medical support, particularly when you are in self-confinement away from your loved ones.
What else can you do to relieve your stress? Deep breathing from time to time. Or sharing your worries with loved ones. Basically, don’t keep it inside.
Philosopher Immanuel Kant said human beings have been given “three things to balance the odds of life: hope, sleep, and laughter.” Keep this in mind and try to make all three of them part of your daily life.