CORONAVIRUS AND PREGNANCY
- Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Keep space between yourselves and others and avoid crowded spaces.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice 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.
If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately. It’s also important that (affected by COVID-19 or not) you continue your routine pregnancy appointments.
Should I be tested while pregnant if I think I may have Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Current guidelines stipulate that pregnant women don't need a test for COVID-19. The latest guidance states that only individuals with severe symptoms who need overnight hospital admission will be tested. The RCOG advise that if you have a high temperature or a new, continuous cough you should remain home for 7 days and should not visit a pharmacy, hospital or GP practice without notifying them by phone first. Furthermore, you don’t need to call NHS 111 to inform them you’re staying home.
You must inform your maternity unit that you have symptoms of COVID-19, and this is even more important if you have any medical appointments booked in the next 7 days.
If your symptoms worsen or you are concerned about the health and wellbeing of your unborn baby or yourself always seek professional medical advice.
We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass it on to her foetus or baby during pregnancy, or the potential impact this may have on the baby. This is currently being scientifically investigated. To date, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid. Pregnant women should continue to follow appropriate precautions to protect themselves from exposure to the virus. Please consult your healthcare professional in case of any questions or concerns.
Different approaches work for different people and it’s important to test various options to find what works best for you. For some, reducing time on social media helps while others recommend cutting down on TV news. Turning to those who make you smile and fill you with cheer, watching TV shows that uplift you, and reading positive news stories can have a huge impact. Laughter and positive thinking can help support the immune system, and all the little happiness hormones you release will also make your baby happy!
To reduce the risk of catching the virus all pregnant women should follow government guidance. This includes taking appropriate precautions to reduce risks of infection for you and your household – including hand hygiene, avoiding contact with someone who is displaying symptoms, working from home where possible, avoiding non-essential use of public transport, and binning tissues straight after use when you or anyone in your family coughs or sneezes.
The is currently no evidence to suggest that a Caesarean section needs to be performed if you’re pregnant and diagnosed with COVID-19. However, if your respiratory condition signaled that urgent delivery would be needed, a c-section birth could be recommended. How you give birth is your choice and your birth plan should be adhered to as much as it can be, based on your wishes.
We know that as a proud mum-to-be, you can’t wait to show your growing tummy to family and friends. But due to social distancing this is not the time for face-to-face meetings. So how about a video call? We’re lucky to live in an era where there’s many group video chat apps that make it easy to communicate with friends and family or share your stories with other pregnant mums in forums. So, for the moment it’s important to stay in touch online.
All of this means “contact” and will increase the risk of you or your baby getting Coronavirus (COVID-19). As tempting as it may be, keep your personal distance, even with relatives. Do not shake hands, hug or let anyone touch your tummy or pick up your child during this time.
And if you’re worried about hurting their feelings, remind them of social distancing and how it protects you and your baby’s health, as well as their own.
It’s normal to feel anxious during pregnancy; there are lots of hormones flying around inside your body at this time. Add in the fear of catching Coronavirus (COVID-19) and it’s only normal to feel worried.
Practicing deep breathing exercises from time to time, employing positive self-talk, and sharing your worries with loved ones can make a huge difference.
Mindfulness can also help; it's about paying attention to your feelings, your body and what is around you. It is also defined as “being in the moment”. It helps protect you from the anxiety caused by all the unpredictability and inability to control what’s going on.
Making time for relaxing your pregnant body, mind, and soul can help you keep the stress levels low and support your immune system and health.
If you’d like to know more there are plenty of brilliant mindfulness apps out there to support.
Can I get professional mental health support during Coronavirus (COVID-19) & lockdown?
If you feel overly anxious, don’t be afraid to seek professional psychological and medical support, and talk to your doctor, particularly when you are in self-confinement away from your loved ones.
Medical expert and qualified GP, Dr Sarah Jarvis, discusses the best ways to take care of yourself in pregnancy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. From eating healthily when food supplies are limited to different ways to exercise at home, Dr Sarah Jarvis' practical advice will help you stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy.
CORONAVIRUS AND BREASTFEEDING
All mothers who have symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty breathing, should seek medical care early, and follow instructions from a health care provider.
Considering the benefits of breastfeeding and the insignificant role of breastmilk in the transmission of other respiratory viruses, the mother can continue breastfeeding, while applying all the necessary precautions, subject to medical advice.
For symptomatic mothers well enough to breastfeed, this includes wearing a mask when near a child (including during feeding), washing hands before and after contact with the child (including feeding), and cleaning/disinfecting contaminated surfaces –as should be done in all cases where anyone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 interacts with others, including children.
If a mother is too ill, she should be encouraged to express milk and give it to the child via a clean cup and/or spoon –all while following the same infection prevention methods, subject to medical advice.
If you have any further questions, contact your doctor.
CORONAVIRUS AND BABIES BETWEEN 0-6 MONTHS
Does COVID-19 affect babies?
This is a new virus and the World Health Organization does not know enough yet about how it affects babies or pregnant women. What they do know is that it’s possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there have been relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported among children and none in babies. The virus is fatal in rare cases, so far mainly among older people with pre-existing medical conditions. If you have any further questions, contact your doctor.
Can a baby wear a mask to go outside?
As masks have certain airtightness, they may be uncomfortable for your little one under 1 year old. Therefore, to limit risks, you can follow the different recommendations from the World Health Organization to help protect you and your baby from COVID-19. And to be really safe, you should limit exposure of your child as much as possible to crowds.
If you have any further questions, contact your doctor.
How do I care for my new baby during the Coronavirus pandemic
Dr Sarah Jarvis shares her practical tips about caring for your baby and tackling some of the common hurdles you may face in early parenthood. From the reasons your baby might be crying to settling into a routine, Dr Sarah Jarvis draws on her first experiences as a both a mother, and a GP to help you navigate the first few months of parenthood.
Is it safe to get my baby immunised during the outbreak of COVID-19?
GP, Dr Sarah Jarvis, talks through the different routine immunisations your baby will be offered in early infanthood, and why in light of the coronavirus pandemic, they’re more important than ever. Learn about the different immunisations your baby will be offered, when they’ll be offered and the protection they provide.
CORONAVIRUS AND BABIES BETWEEN 6-12 MONTHS
Does COVID-19 affect infants?
This is a new virus and not enough is known yet about how it affects babies or pregnant women. It is possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there have been relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported among children and none in babies. The virus is fatal in rare cases, so far mainly among older people with pre-existing medical conditions. If you have any further questions, contact your doctor.
What if my child is stressed about Coronavirus?
Children may respond to stress in different ways such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, bedwetting etc. Respond to your child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention.
If you have any concern for the mental health of your little one, you should consult with your healthcare professional.
For more information visit: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.