(Not medically reviewed by Dr. Stair)
Written by : Shallow Wen
As we all know, the COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus has spread all over the world at a fast rate. Labeled as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), many pregnant women have become concerned both for themselves and for their babies. They have so many questions that add greatly to their stress. To help out, this post has compiled the most common questions pregnant women have regarding the new coronavirus disease.
How Is the New Coronavirus Transmitted?
The virus transmits through respiratory droplets that are released into the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. A person also gets infected when he or she touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches his or her nose, mouth, and eyes.
How Can I Protect Myself Against the Coronavirus?
The most essential way of reducing your risks of contracting the disease is through proper and frequent handwashing. You have to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching anywhere your face, particularly your nose, mouth, and eyes.
Social distancing is also important so you need to avoid large gatherings. If you are experiencing a mild cold or cough, you have to stay at home and limit your contact with other people. When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue then dispose of it right away. If you don’t have any tissue with you, you can use your elbow to cover your mouth.
Especially since you are pregnant, you must get enough rest and hydrate often to keep your immune system strong and to maintain your health.
What Is My Risk of Covid-19 Since I am Pregnant?
Since the illness comes from a novel virus, there is not enough information yet on its impact on pregnant women. However, experts believe that pregnant women will have similar risks or possibly more compared to the general public when developing symptoms once infected. Basing on information circulating, symptoms experienced by pregnant women and people within the age range are mild and moderate.
If I Get Infected With the Coronavirus, Is It Possible to Pass It on My Newborn?
Although there are infected mothers who gave birth to completely healthy babies, this is not enough data to confirm that the illness does not get passed on. To date, no infants were born testing positive for COVID-19. To add, there was no presence of the virus as well in samples of breast milk and amniotic fluid.
If I Test Positive for Covid-19 While Pregnant, Will It Increase Miscarriage and Other Complications?
For now, there are no reports that there is an increased risk for miscarriage and other complications during pregnancy (i.e., fetal malformations) while infected with COVID-19. Basing on the information gathered from other coronaviruses, such as MERS and SARS, pregnant women who have the coronavirus disease may have an increased risk for certain complications, such as pre-term birth. However, this information is very limited and the illness may not cause pre-term birth directly.
Can I Still Breastfeed My Baby During the COVID-19 Epidemic?
As mentioned earlier, there is no sign of the virus passing on the breast milk. Therefore, you can breastfeed your baby during the epidemic. However, since the virus spreads through respiratory droplets, you must wash your hands properly and wear a face mask to reduce the exposure of the baby to the virus.
If I Have the Coronavirus Disease, Can I Breastfeed My Baby?
If you are either a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient, it is not recommended to breastfeed your baby at this time. It is also discouraged to breastfeed if you are currently taking antiviral drugs, such as Ritonavir and Lopinavir.
Meanwhile, if you have respiratory symptoms but tested negative for COVID-19, you may breastfeed your baby under the guidance of your doctor.
What Are the Precautions to Observe During Pregnancy Checkups?
During the COVID-19 epidemic, pregnant women need to follow the following precautions during pregnancy checkups:
- Do not take public transport. You may either go by private car, taxi, or Uber.
- Always wear a surgical mask or an N95 mask before going out. Gloves are highly recommended as well.
- Bring a BeCleanse hand sanitizer that has 75% alcohol content to maintain hand hygiene when soap and water are not available. You may also bring sanitary wipes.
- Avoid touching anywhere your face, particularly your nose, mouth, and eyes.
- Keep distance from other people at least a meter away each time you are out of your house.
- As soon as you arrive home, discard used masks and gloves into the trash bin. Wash your hands and face and change your clothes. Even better, take a bath for more assurance.
During the pandemic, it is strongly encouraged that people don’t go out unless necessary to reduce the chances of transmission. If you are currently pregnant, it is best you stay at home and limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Observe proper hygiene, take your vitamins, eat well, and get enough rest.