Pregnancy and birth during a pandemic
The covid-19 pandemic has made a dramatic impact on the way we currently live our lives. Particularly during pregnancy this can cause quite a lot of anxiety around what is safe and not safe to do.
Here are some answers to some commonly asked questions around covid-19 and how it might affect pregnancy and birth.
Appointments with your obstetrician or midwife
You might have already noticed some changes to the way we are delivering our service at Create Health. Some of our pregnancy consultations have moved to telehealth particularly if this is a time when you are due for an ultrasound. Most of the appointments in pregnancy will be necessary to attend the clinic and it is quite safe to do so. You might notice some changes in the waiting room with greater spacing and less patients waiting together. We would ask if possible for you to attend your appointment by yourself and we will need to limit our appointment times to under 15 minutes. We would also ask patients to check in with the reception staff if they are experiencing any cold or flu like symptoms. We would likely reschedule your appointment in this case or provide you with a telehealth consultation. Routine ultrasound and other investigations in pregnancy will go ahead as planned.
General advice about lowering your risk of contracting covid-19
Covid-19 is a respiratory tract virus much like the common cold or influenza. It is contracted by contact with droplets and it is therefore very important to practice social distancing. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after contact with any surfaces in the community. And if this is not available then using a hand sanitiser with greater than 70% alcohol is a good alternative. Also trying not to touch your face can also help to reduce the chance of infection.
Contracting covid-19 while pregnant
If you have a cough, cold or flu like symptoms it's very important to contact your family doctor and your obstetrician or midwife for advice.
If you do contract Covid-19 while pregnant it is most likely that you will experience mild to moderate cold or flu like symptoms and then recover fully. The great news is that current evidence suggests that you will not pass the virus to your baby.
Pregnancy and birthing classes during the pandemic
Hospital based pregnancy and birthing classes have been suspended for the time being. The good news is that there are some very good online learning tools as well as the opportunity to have an online pregnancy and birth class with the Create Health midwives. Please contact the team for more information.
if your birthing plan includes a hospital-based birth whether it be a natural birth or a cesarean section this is still the safest place to have a baby. There have however, been some changes to the admission process to hospitals as well as support people you can bring along with you. Your obstetrician or midwife will keep you up to date with current changes to hospital admission practices but for now we would ask that you only bring one support person with you on the day of birth.
If you are suspected of having or have been diagnosed with covid-19 and it's time to have your baby there will be some special precautions made to protect everyone including your baby from contracting the virus. This would include wearing protective equipment including gowns masks and gloves.
If you have covid -19, be reassured that it is still safe to breastfeed your baby (with a little help and precautions).
After birth, your stay at the hospital will include all normal postnatal care with some minor adjustments to keep you and your treating team safe. You will be unable to have visitors and unfortunately if you have other children they will currently not be allowed to come into the hospital.
If you have further questions the team at Create Health are more than happy to help. We know this is a very stressful time for our pregnant mother's to be and we are here to support you.