COVID 19 and pregnancy

We find ourselves in challenging times with COVID 19 and I’m sure these concerns are heightened for pregnant women and their families.

I’ve put together a summary of what I hope is helpful information. Please remember to always speak to your doctor or midwife. We are getting updated information all the time and your treating team know you well.

  • There is no evidence that pregnant women are more prone to COVID 19 than any other respiratory virus.
  • Pregnancy is a time of partial immune suppression and so if you are unwell with any type of virus, you are more likely to become unwell.
  • If you have a high temperature and continuous cough – stay home and rest, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol as directed
    • if you are still unwell after 7 days, or are concerned about your baby, please contact you doctor or midwife
    • if you are unwell and are scheduled for a routine antenatal visit – call the doctor or midwife first.
  • Please be careful taking supplements or multivitamins to ‘boost your immune system’ – many of these contain doses of Vitamin A that can cause malformations in the baby.
  • There have been no deaths of pregnant women with COVID 19.
  • There have been no reports of increased miscarriages or stillbirths.
  • If a pregnant woman is very unwell with COVID 19, there is a small risk early delivery and fetal distress (just as there would be with any viral pneumonia).
  • There have been no reports of spread from the mother to baby while the baby is in utero
    • this information is based on women in the last three months of pregnancy, we are waiting for more information about early pregnancy.
  • There have been no reports of malformations due to maternal infection with COVID 19 – this is a very different virus to Zika virus
    • there is no need to consider a termination of pregnancy.
  • Please wash your hands for 20 seconds and dry with paper towel before eating or touching your baby. Sing Happy Birthday to yourself…
  • Avoid crowded public places, public transport, gyms and limit trips to the shops to once per week, or ask someone to the do the shopping for you.
  • If you have COVID 19, and are mildly unwell, your pregnancy care will continue as per usual, but with an extra ultrasound to check on the baby – just as a precaution – 14 days after you have recovered.
  • Women with COVID 19 can still have a vaginal delivery, but Mum will need to wear a face mask and the treating team will wear face masks, gloves and gowns.
  • The only indication for a Caesarean section is health of the mum or the baby – this has not changed and will be discussed with families and an expert team of doctors.
  • Mums with COVID 19 can still breastfeed – COVID 19 has not been found in breast milk, amniotic fluid, vaginal secretions, or the placenta. It has been found in poo – so wash your hands after going to the toilet.
  • Mums with COVID who are breastfeeding will need to wear face masks while feeding their babies to avoid sneezing or coughing on their babies.
  • Mums with COVID 19 can have their babies in the same room as them, but place the cot 2m away from their bed.

Above all. Please don’t panic. Enjoy your pregnancy and your baby. Speak to your doctor or midwife – we are being updated with information on a daily basis.

References:

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Information for pregnant women and their families. http://www.rcog.org.au.uk/en/guidelines

Liang H and Acharya G. Novel corona virus (COVID-19) in pregnancy: what clinical recommendations to follow? Acta Obstetrician Gynecol Scand. 2020;00:1-4.

ISUOG Interim Guidance on 2019 novel coronavirus infection during pregnancy and puerperium: information for healthcare professionals. Poon LC, Yang H, Lee JCS, Copel JA, Leung TY, Zhang Y, Chen D, Prefumo F. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2020;1-22.