COVID-19 during pregnancy or childbirth: here you need to know. A child without a COVID-19 pandemic is quite stressful, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and all associated misinformation.
If you are pregnant and / or will be giving birth soon, it is best to obtain information from reliable sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Royal College of Obstetricians and the Australian Government Department of Health.
Pregnant women must act like the general public to protect themselves. Image by David Wagner. Pregnant women must act like the general public to protect themselves.
This is a new virus
Because SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus, we are learning more about it every day. Since most pregnant women are young and generally healthy, they are less likely to be seriously affected (which is good news). But since there is also a child to consider, the image can be more complex.
In the UK, a mother with recent COVID-19 disease recently had a positive delivery immediately after birth, but we are not sure whether she was infected in utero (unlikely) or after birth (more likely).
As far as we know, the baby is fine and the mother is being treated. Other reports of babies with COVID-19 also showed they had mild symptoms and a good recovery. From China’s experience to the WHO council. To date, much of our information on COVID-19 comes from China.
This is where one of the first studies involving only nine pregnant women with COVID-19 occurred. All of these women had caesarean sections, none were very bad, and all the mothers and babies were recovered.
The study found that none of the babies received COVID-19 and there was no evidence of virus in the breast, breast, or fluid in the baby. It is not clear why these children were born by cesarean section.
China has a very high caesarean section rate, which is not optimal and may affect how they reacted. The new WHO guidelines state: “There is no evidence that pregnant women with different signs or symptoms are present or at increased risk of serious illness.
So far, there is no evidence of mother-to-child transmission when infection appears in the third trimester … The WHO recommends that caesarean section ideally be performed only when medically appropriate. “
Why are pregnant women not more sensitive to COVID-19?
Pregnant women are generally more susceptible to viruses that cause respiratory problems (like the flu). Their immunity is reduced, their lungs are more restricted, and they require more oxygen. However, this does not appear to be the case with COVID-19.
In an analysis of 147 women with COVID-19, only 8% had severe illness and 1% were in critical condition. It is lower than the general population. A low immune response to pregnancy, which is necessary to prevent a woman’s body from responding to her baby as a health hazard, may actually provide additional protection with COVID-19.
COVID-19 appears to be more severe in people with an immune system who work hard to treat other health disorders. With COVID-19, more men are affected than women, and women are less likely to become seriously ill and die. To date, the death rate is 1.7% for women and 2.8% for men.
However, it may change as the epidemic spreads. Women comprise the majority of health workers and caregivers will be in contact with more sick people. How can pregnant women protect themselves and others?
Pregnant women must act like the general public to protect themselves, including:
- (i) Covering the mouth when coughing (coughing in the elbow bend);
- (ii) Avoid the sick;
- (iii) ask people who are not well to avoid going;
- (iv) Wash hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based disinfectants and avoid large gatherings.
It would be wise not to travel abroad at this time; Upon return you may have to self-immolate. Women who think they have contracted COVID-19 can now consult for a mass billing telemedicine call (video call) instead of meeting their GP or other healthcare professional in person.
Women who are pregnant or have new children are preferred for telehealth services. If you have been asked to contact someone with COVID-19 or to isolate yourself due to illness, be sure to contact your midwife or obstetrician by phone and follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
What about prenatal visits and going to the hospital to be born?
Going on dates, but if you lose a partner, don’t stress out and a quick vacation can be a good idea if you can.
If you are admitted to a delivery center or hospital, many precautions are taken to reduce the risk of infection.
Delivery will be planned in most cases and it would be ideal to go home early and if you and your baby are well encouraged. Keep in mind that some hospitals are restricting visits and even supporting other people who are not accompanying, to reduce the risk to the community.
Can a baby become infected with COVID-19 in the womb?
The placenta is a very efficient filtering system and does an amazing job of protecting children from harm. The exception was the Zika virus. There is no evidence of further complications, although if a woman was very ill (for example, with high temperature or pneumonia), the baby may be born prematurely.
This may be due to the deliberate intervention of health professionals if the woman is very ill. In general, however, a diagnosis of COVID-19 should not be decided for premature birth, unless termination of pregnancy is considered beneficial to the mother due to her general condition.
There is insufficient evidence that COVID-19 increases miscarriage and it is too early to know any other long-term effects on the baby.
What should I do after birth?
The benefits of breastfeeding are very important. The WHO recommends that it start within an hour after birth. Skin-to-skin contact should be supported immediately after birth if the baby is well.
If the mother is very ill, she should be helped to express milk. Breastfeeding is particularly effective against infectious diseases because it transfers antibodies and other important immune factors to the baby.
If the woman or child has an infection, the structure of breast milk also changes to improve vital components that help the child fight the infection. So if you were thinking about stopping breastfeeding, it would probably continue until the epidemic ended.
The WHO recommends that women who have COVID-19, who should wash their hands before and after exposure to the child, wear a medical mask when the baby is near them if they have symptoms (such as a cough), and can touch surfaces They are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
What else can you do?
Get vaccinated when the seasonal flu vaccine becomes available. We know that it can be protective during pregnancy. It is free for pregnant women and there is no risk to your baby with the flu shot.
Free flu shots will be available starting in mid-April, but if women want them first, they can get them at the pharmacy in late March for a fee. If you are very concerned, especially try to be calm and talk to your midwife or doctor.
Author: Hannah Dahlen, Professor of Obstetrics and Director of Higher Studies at the University of Western Sydney, and David Ellwood, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Griffith University.
The conversation: This article was originally published in Conversation.