Although pregnant women are no more likely to catch coronavirus than anyone else, pregnancy can alter the way that the body is able to handle severe viral infections for a small proportion of women. For this reason, pregnant women are seen as being in the vulnerable category when it comes to Covid-19 - meaning that it’s advisable for to take some extra precautions when it comes to the pandemic.
Play:Date App has helped us gather up some of the most common concerns for pregnant women, along with some answers from professionals around the world, about what you should and should not do while pregnant in the pandemic.
General Advice on Protecting Yourself During Pregnancy
The general advice for protecting pregnant women against catching coronavirus is the same as it is for the general population, although you may want to take some extra precautions. Dr Amelie Hofmann-Werther, Specialist Gynecology and Obstetrics, and Nightingale - a UAE-based Home Care Nursing Service – share some tips below:
- We’ve all understood this by now but it bears repeating – Do, of course, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, and avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes. If you can’t get to a sink then a hand rub containing at least 60% alcohol can be used.
- Do avoid crowded spaces as much as possible. If someone else can get groceries for you, it might be best to take them up on it.
- Do 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.
- Do get tested as soon as possible if you feel you may have come into contact with someone who is infected. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that pregnant women with symptoms get prioritized for testing, and the UAE is currently offering free tests to pregnant women – check with your health authority for details.
- Don’t let your husband have a long beard, as it could be an additional cause for viruses to stay if not washed properly.
- Don’t wear jewellery or watches as these can often be difficult to be kept clean.
- Don’t feel that you have to rush for a caesarean – the WHO advises that Covid-19 infection itself is not an indication for caesarean section, and that caesarean should only be performed when medically justified.
Going to The Hospital for Prenatal Check-Ups
- DO call your hospital ahead of time to understand its rules and guidance for prenatal appointments as these can sometimes change from week to week depending on the situation.
- DO ask about telemedicine options. If you are particularly concerned about going to the hospital for any reason then it is possible to do many aspects of an appointment via telephone or Zoom, and many UAE clinics are now offering this option. Franka Cadée, President of the International Confederation of Midwives, says, “You do see a lot of adaptation happening at the moment in the world, where midwives are doing clinics or certain appointments by phone, so that the actual looking at the baby and the growth of the baby appointment can be short.”
- DO keep the communication open with your doctor or midwife – they are trained to give you the best care in these situations.
- DO write a flexible birth plan or preferences list for how you would like your labour and birth to go if possible. Although there will always be some things that you cannot influence, this helps give you some control in the current unpredictable situation. “This should include who to phone when the labour begins, who will provide support during labour and where. Establish what restrictions will be in place for your hospital birth regarding support people and family members,” advises Franka Cadée, the President of the International Confederation of Midwives.
- DON’T worry that you are seeing your doctor less than before. Rest assured that your doctor will always do what is best for you and your baby. Some may have a higher risk pregnancy – in which case, your doctor will advice if you need to see them more frequently.
- DON’T meet with other people who could possibly be infected, and if you do make sure you give a good and detailed history to your caring team regarding your symptoms as this has very important implications for your baby’s and your family’s health, says Dr George Michailidis, Consultant in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Maternal & Fetal Medicine at Genesis Clinic.
- Whatever you do, DO NOT delay getting emergency care due to Covid-19. If you are worried about something to do with your pregnancy, call your doctor or hospital if you can, or head to the emergency department.
Coping with Anxiety and Worry About Giving Birth During the Pandemic
Pregnancy can be stressful in the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. Here are some things to remember:
- Breathe and Relax! Keep active at home by doing some light exercise and stretches.
- Take your mind off the current situation - read a book you have always wanted to or watch a funny movie.
- Keep in touch with your friends and family, to reduce stress levels and anxiety, this will also help in retaining a level of normality. Speaking out about what is on your mind always helps!
- Look after your health much more than before by eating well and drinking lots of liquids.
- Try and enjoy being pregnant – and take the time to connect with your baby.
Play:Date is a social application that helps build a little one’s social circle. The platform helps to connect like-minded parents and their children with similar aged children in the neighbourhood and across the globe.