If you are pregnant, have recently delivered a baby, or are breast-feeding your child, then you have come to the right place!
COVID-19 (coronavirus) has shaken the whole world to its core; the number of positive cases and deaths due to coronavirus keeps increasing daily. In such trying times, it’s only natural for pregnant moms to think about the impact of COVID-19 on their child. It’s also important for you to know everything there is to know about how this virus can change your pregnancy, the birth of your baby, and your post-partum care plans!
So, here's everything you need to know:
The Impact of COVID-19 on you and your baby
Let’s start with the risks COVID-19 poses to you and your unborn baby during pregnancy. Presently, there’s no conclusive evidence to suggest that pregnant women have a higher chance of contracting COVID-19. Similarly, we don’t know yet if pregnant women might experience severe symptoms or if the virus will have any effects on the heath of the baby.
However, since you are carrying a child in your womb, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. So, contact your doctor right away if you are exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus or have been exposed to someone infected with the virus. If you have the virus, your treatment plan will include getting plenty of rest and fluids, along with medication to relieve the symptoms such as fever, pain, and coughing.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Antenatal Care
The COVID-19 lockdowns might affect your access to routine antenatal care. If your locality is facing an ongoing lockdown, then talk to your healthcare provider about virtual antenatel care. This could include setting up video appointments.
Also, ask them if there are any helpful tools that you can buy to keep at home such as a BP monitor. For effective virtual visits, make a list of questions beforehand and take meticulous notes during the appointment. You can also lookup online childbirth classes.
Moreover, if you have a complicated pregnancy, then virtual visits might not be a viable option. So, talk to your doctor/Midwife and come up with a plan to avail regular antenatal care.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Labour and Delivery
If you are healthy toward the end of your pregnancy, you might have a regular birthing experience. However, you need to be prepared for everything. To protect yourself and your baby’s health, your hospital might not allow your partner to be with you during labour. Your doctor might also limit the number of visitors after delivery. So, make sure to talk to your chosen doctor and facility about their specific restrictions. However, be prepared for these restrictions to change with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have coronavirus, then it will severely impact your contact with your newborn. Your baby will be cared for in a separate room to protect them from the virus. You won’t be allowed to visit them and only a healthy caretaker will be allowed to visit them.
During these trying times, you might have more anxiety and stress about your baby’s health. So, look into arranging virtual visits with your doctor/Midwife post-delivery. Also, lean on your family and friends for virtual support and guidance. If you experience any of the symptoms of postnatal depression – loss of appetite, severe mood swings, overwhelming fatigue after childbirth – then contact your Midwife right away.
Breastfeeding Concerns Due to COVID-19
Currently, we simply don’t have enough information to conclude whether COVID-19 can be transmitted via breast milk or not. However, the more concerning problem is whether you can transmit the virus via respiratory droplets to your baby during breastfeeding. So, if you have COVID-19 or are waiting on your test results, then take careful steps to avoid spreading it to your child. Wash your hands every time you touch your baby and wear a mask when breastfeeding them. If you’re using a breast pump, wash your hands before touching it or the bottle parts. Also, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for pump cleaning. To completely avoid the risk of transmitting the virus to your child, have someone who is well to give them breast milk. Alternatively, you can use baby formulas and keep your baby safe from the virus.
The Bottom Line
As there’s no vaccine available for COVID-19 yet, you need to take proper precautions to protect yourself and your child. To reduce the risk of catching the virus, avoid contact with sick people and maintain proper distance with people. Limit your visits to the doctor and opt for virtual visits instead. Wash your hands as often as possible with soap and water for about 20 seconds or more. Most importantly, focus on keeping yourself and your baby safe and stress-free. Stay in touch with your healthcare provider and seek their guidance. If you are experiencing stress or anxiety, reach out to a healthcare professional..