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Pregnancy and premature babies

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If you are pregnant and concerned about how Coronavirus could affect you and your baby, you are not alone. There is a lot of speculation around COVID-19 and the risk of delivering a premature/preterm baby. We are here to provide validated information and empower you through credible facts and advice provided by the WHO and other reputable organisations.

The facts about the Coronavirus during pregnancy

Across the board, there is currently no evidence to suggest that you at higher risk of contracting Coronavirus than anyone else. However, during pregnancy, changes in your body and immune system, could put you at risk of some respiratory infections. It is therefore important that you take extra steps to protect yourself against the Coronavirus, and report possible symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing to your healthcare provider.

If you have Coronavirus, the risk of passing it to your baby during pregnancy is thought to be low. So far, there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted before birth (this is called vertical transmission). However, once your baby is born, it can contract the virus like anyone else – through contact with your respiratory droplets.

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The facts about preterm births and the Coronavirus

COVID-19 – Coronavirus is a new virus and there is little data available to identify whether having it increases your risk of having a preterm delivery. Premature births have been reported in some cases where mothers have Coronavirus, however it is not clear that these outcomes were related to the infection. In situations where mothers have been unwell, some have been advised by their doctor to deliver their baby(ies) early.

This is something you should discuss with your doctor if it becomes a concern for you.

Did you know that on a normal day, 1 in 10 babies are born too soon (regardless of COVID-19). The WHO and other reputable authorities report that common causes of preterm births include infections and chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. For this reason, it is still advised that pregnant women take extra care to avoid contracting Coronavirus through suggested personal hygiene practices, social distancing and proper medical supervision throughout pregnancy.

Protecting yourself contracting Coronavirus

  • Wash your hands regularly and frequently using soap and water for 20 seconds or alcohol-based hand sanitiser

  • Exercising social distancing when in the presence of other people. This means keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and other individuals

  • Avoiding contact with anyone who has a fever, cough or symptoms of a cold or chest infection. This includes loved ones.

  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth

  • Staying at home unless it is a necessity to leave

  • In some cases, wearing a mask when out of the house to protect yourself from sick people coughing and sneezing on you.

Note: Please check your local guidelines and advice as precautions vary from country to country depending on the severity of community transmission. If you have symptoms of a cough, fever or difficulty breathing, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

References:

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Feeding a premature baby

Helpful facts, tips and considerations given by UNICEF to keep your baby safe while feeding.

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How to protect yourself and your baby or toddler

Nutricia shared the WHO recommendations on how to protect you and your baby, since you are their primary source of contact with the outside world.

Information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.