It is an exciting time filled with anticipation and excitement during pregnancy. Many people feel that the COVID-19 pandemic has made this a time of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty.
This page contains the most recent information about pregnancy, COVID-19, and vaccines. Expert tips are also provided on how to have safe pregnancies during the pandemic.
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I’m pregnant. Are I more at risk for COVID-19?
COVID-19 is not more common in pregnant women. You are more at risk for serious illness if COVID-19 is contracted while you’re pregnant. If you have COVID-19, your chances of having your baby delivered prematurely are higher.
It is important that you and your family take preventative measures to avoid COVID-19. If you have symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fever or cough, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
What can I do to prevent COVID-19 from happening during pregnancy?
Women who are pregnant should follow the same precautions as others to prevent COVID-19 infection. Protect yourself and others around you by following these steps:
- Consult your healthcare provider before you consider vaccinations.
- Wear a mask if physical separation from others is impossible
- Avoid crowded or poorly ventilated areas and keep your physical distance from others.
- You can improve indoor ventilation by opening windows
- Use soap, water, or an alcohol-based hand scrub to wash your hands frequently.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you experience fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
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If I’m pregnant, can I get the COVID-19 vaccination?
You can get vaccinated even if you’re pregnant. While the overall risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is low, pregnant women are at greater risk than those who aren’t.
Although there are not many data on pregnant women being vaccinated, evidence has grown that COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy. There have been no safety concerns. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information on receiving a COVID-19 vaccine while you are pregnant.
If I’m breastfeeding, should I get the COVID-19 vaccination?
If you are breastfeeding, you should get the vaccine as soon possible. It is safe and poses no risk to either the mother or her baby. The COVID-19 vaccines currently in use do not contain live virus. Therefore, there is no chance of your baby getting COVID-19 through breast milk. Your baby may be protected by the antibodies you have received after vaccination.
I want to have a baby. Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?
Although you might have heard false claims via social media, there is no evidence to suggest that any vaccines, including COVID-19, affect fertility in women and men. If you’re trying to get pregnant, you should have your vaccines.
Will I be able to pass on COVID-19 to my baby if I have it?
It is not yet known if the virus can pass from mother to unborn baby or between mothers. Active COVID-19 (virus which causes infection) has so far not been detected in breastmilk or fluid in the womb.
It is best to take every precaution to avoid contracting COVID-19. If you feel unwell, whether you are pregnant or just gave birth, you should immediately seek medical attention and follow the instructions of your doctor.
Are prenatal checks safe?
Expectant mothers often fear going to appointments. They may also be taking preventative measures such as staying at home or practicing physical distancing outside. Ask your healthcare provider about the options available to you.
It is important that you continue to receive professional guidance and support after your baby is born. Talk to your healthcare provider to discuss the best way for you to schedule these appointments.
I had planned to give birth in a hospital. This is still an option.
The location you live will determine the risk. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best option for you. You will get advice from them about the risks and safest options based on your individual situation and local health system.
Can I have my partner or a family member near me when I give birth to my baby?
Although policies may vary from country to country, it is important that you have someone close by to help you.
Franka Cadee (President of the International Confederation of Midwives) said: “I understand that you want a reduction in the number of people with a women while she gives birth. That is very logical. But let’s ensure that a woman has at least one person with her while giving birth. It could be her sister, her mother or the closest person of your choice. Please keep the babies with their mothers.
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I feel very anxious about giving birth. How can I cope?
Everyone has experienced stress and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those who are about to give birth. A plan for your birth can ease anxiety and give you more control. However, it is important to recognize that things may change depending on where you live. You should have a plan that outlines who you can call when your labor begins and who will provide support. Check with the hospital to see if there are restrictions for family members or support persons.
Relax at home with simple exercises, such as breathing exercises, stretches and calling your midwife if you need it. Keep in touch with your family and friends, eat right, get enough sleep, and take care of yourself. Although it is difficult, try to enjoy the process as much as possible.
What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?
Establishing trust with your healthcare provider is crucial. Franka Cadee (President of the International Confederation of Midwives) says, “All of those questions have to do with your health and you,” If you are open with your healthcare provider, your midwife or your obstetrician, they will be able to discuss these matters with you and answer your questions openly. These are your rights, it’s your body and baby’s.
Cadee suggests creating a system for how and when you communicate with your healthcare provider. You can organize a schedule around appointments and how to reach you for urgent care. In the event of service disruptions or changes, it is a good idea to speak to your care providers about getting a copy of all of your records.
It is important to ask as many questions about your plans for giving birth as possible. Cadee recommends the following:
- Is this a risk area for COVID-19? Is there anyone else who has been affected by COVID-19?
- How can you tell COVID-19-positive people from non-covid-19?
- Are there sufficient protective clothing available for healthcare professionals?
- Can I bring someone with me? If no, then why not?
- Can I bring my baby along? If no, then why not?
- Can I breastfeed my baby? If so, why not?
I have COVID-19. What should I do during pregnancy and childbirth?
It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that you might have COVID-19. Follow the instructions of your doctor.
You and your baby have the right of high-quality care during pregnancy and after birth.
Support should be given to:
- Safely breastfeed (see COVID-19 tips for breastfeeding)
- Your newborn skin-toskin should be held
- You can share a room with your baby
- A baby’s development is enhanced by close contact and exclusive breastfeeding. This is also good for the mother’s overall health.
When around your baby you should take precautions, including wearing a medical mask if available, washing hands before and after contact, and cleaning/disinfecting surfaces.
I have COVID-19. Can I safely breastfeed my baby while on COVID-19?
Yes. Yes. There has been no evidence of infection from active COVID-19 virus transmitted through breast milk or breastfeeding.
It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that you might have the COVID-19 disease. Mothers well enough to breastfeed should take precautions, including wearing a medical mask if available, washing hands before and after contact, and cleaning/disinfecting surfaces. You can express milk and give your baby the milk via a cup or spoon if you are unable to breastfeed.
What can I do for my baby after I give birth?
The risk level depends on where you live. Check your local authorities for relevant guidance. In areas where COVID-19 transmission is higher and vaccination rates are lower, you should take extra precautions.
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Consider limiting your visitors to your immediate family if the risk is greater.
It can be difficult, but try to see the benefits of this time spent together as a family. You can spend more time with your baby if you don’t have visitors. Franka Cadee (President of the International Confederation of Midwives) says that sometimes it can be overwhelming for young mothers or fathers to have so much visitors. Enjoy the peace and quiet of your immediate family for this time. It is very special to be able bond with your baby, to discover this new person and to enjoy it.