Pregnancy is associated with a lot of mixed emotions for the expectant mother and all other parties involved in this process of bringing forth new life. Anxiety, joy and frustration are but a few of the emotions that may be experienced. Unexpected situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic may add up to the stresses of the expectant mother.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of the United States of America, there is no current research on whether or not pregnant women stand a greater chance of contracting coronavirus or falling casualty to it as opposed to the general public. The CDC also notes that there is no documented evidence of an increased risk of any fetal malformations or miscarriage with women who are infected with Covid-19. Rather, limited evidence according to the CDC gathered by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists from other viruses such as SARS and MERS have noted that pregnant women who contract Covid-19 maybe at a higher risk of birth complications such as preterm birth.
However, evidence has shown that due to changes in their bodies and the suppression of their immune systems, pregnant women are at a higher risk of being severely ill when they contract some viruses from the same family as Covid-19 such as the influenza.
Consequently, organisations such as the CDC of the United States of America, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have outlined the following safety measures to help expectant mothers keep themselves and their unborn children safe and healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic.:
- Practice social distancing by avoiding public transport when possible, try to avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, particularly in closed or confined spaces, as well as avoid physical gatherings with friends and family. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Practicing 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
- As much as possible avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the coronavirus.
- Clean your hands often using soap and running water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.
- Work from home, where possible.
- Use telephone, texting or online services to contact your midwife, obstetrician and other essential services if your healthcare allows for such. However, in the instance of in person visits please observe all safety precautions outlined by your service provider.
- Avoid any sort of travels during this period and postpone any organized activities such as baby showers.