As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate headlines around the world, it is a worrying time for everyone. If you are expecting a baby, you are bound to have concerns regarding the health and wellbeing of yourself and your baby.
We thought we would put together tips and advice for pregnant women to put your mind at ease during this troubling time.
Why Are Pregnant Women Considered High Risk?
On 16th March, pregnant women were moved into the ‘vulnerable category’ along with the elderly and those with underlying health issues.
This change made many pregnant women believe they were more at risk of catching the Coronavirus infection.
However, let us start by reassuring you there is no evidence to suggest pregnant women are more likely to catch the virus than the general population. Plus, there is no evidence to suggest your unborn baby is at risk.
We understand that added anxiety and stress is not healthy for a mum-to-be. We advise that you avoid reading the many inaccurate sources shared across social media channels. Instead, stick to reliable sources, such as the NHS and Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists.
As there’s currently no evidence suggesting pregnant women are more likely to catch the virus, you may be wondering why you (or your loved one) has been placed in the vulnerable category.
According to the RCOG, there are studies demonstrating that a small percentage of women react differently to infections when pregnant. Thankfully, there’s not yet any evidence that suggests this is the case with the Coronavirus infection.
It is thought that the government has moved pregnant women into the ‘vulnerable category’ as a precautionary measure – kind of like a ‘better safe than sorry’ method.
How Do I Avoid Catching Coronavirus?
The NHS and GOV.uk websites offer plenty of advice to help you avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus infection. This includes:
- Regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and dispose of them immediately
- Avoid contact with anyone who has shown symptoms of Coronavirus or believes they may have it
- Avoid all non-essential travel
- Don’t touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth if you have not washed your hands
Pregnant women should be taking social distancing seriously as advised by the government. This includes working from home where possible and minimising face-to-face interaction with family and friends where possible.
Looking After Your Health And Wellbeing When Social Distancing
Social distancing and self-isolating can put a strain on your mental health. With the help of modern technology, ensure you are keeping in regular contact with your family and friends.
You should also try to get yourself into a routine, particularly if you are working from home.
Try to incorporate exercise and hobbies into your day. This might include doing a prenatal online fitness class or going for a walk around the block. Spending time outside and enjoying the fresh air will lift your mood and give you more energy.
Aim to spend this time at home doing things you enjoy and may not have time to do once your little one arrives. This might include reading, painting, prenatal yoga or baking.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Coronavirus?
If you have been exposed to somebody who has tested positive for coronavirus or you are showing symptoms (high temperature and continuous cough), you should self-isolate for 7 days. This includes staying at home and avoiding all contact with family and friends.
With plenty of rest, fluids and the help of the NHS 111 online service, you should recover just as anyone else would. It is advised that you DO NOT visit your GP or the hospital if you think you have Coronavirus.
If you have a routine appointment within the next seven days, you should contact your maternity unit and tell them you are showing symptoms of Coronavirus.
If your symptoms get worse/don’t improve after 7 days or you feel that you cannot manage your symptoms at home, you should call the NHS 111 helpline. Alternatively, if you have any other concerns, you should contact your midwife or maternity team.
You do not need to be tested if you are pregnant and think you have symptoms of Coronavirus. As it stands, the NHS is only testing people with severe symptoms who require overnight admission to the hospital.
As previously mentioned, there is nothing to suggest pregnant women react worse to coronavirus than anyone else.
Also, there is no evidence to suggest that the virus can be passed onto your unborn baby. Experts believe that unborn babies are unlikely to be exposed to the Coronavirus infection if the mother is infected.
What If I Test Positive For Coronavirus?
If you have been tested for the infection and the results are positive, you will be able to recover at home as long as your symptoms are mild. Many people have tested positive yet have no symptoms whatsoever. If your symptoms are severe, you will need to recover in a hospital setting.
Can I Still Attend Antenatal Appointments?
Antenatal appointments are essential for the wellbeing of yourself and your baby. Plus, they provide an opportunity to see how your little one is developing!
Antenatal appointments are a special part of pregnancy, and thankfully, antenatal appointments are currently going ahead as normal.
If you are well, you should be attending your appointments unless told otherwise. However, you may want to contact your maternity unit beforehand to ensure everything is going ahead as planned.
If you are showing symptoms of Coronavirus or have been exposed to the infection, it is advised that you postpone your antenatal appointments until after your self-isolation period is over.
If you would like more advice and tips on all things baby and pregnancy, head to our blog.