By Dr Masimba Mavaza
PREGNANCY brings uncertainty with the current COVID-19 scourge.
It is important to let your midwife or maternity team know if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
There is, however, no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19.
Pregnant women have been included in the list of people at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) as a precaution.
This is because pregnant women can sometimes be more at risk from viruses like flu.
It’s not clear if this happens with COVID-19.
But because it’s a new virus, it’s safer to include pregnant women in the moderate-risk group.
It may be possible for the pregnant infected mother to pass the virus to the baby.
So, a pregnant person learns to be more careful as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
There is no evidence that COVID-19 causes miscarriage or affects how a baby develops in pregnancy.
So, the virus, while it causes anxiety, is like a sharp sword.
Naturally, pregnancy is a joyous moment which grips both partners and relatives with joyous anticipation.
Franka Cadée, president of the International Confederation of Midwives said: “COVID-19 is a new virus and research into it is ongoing.
But there is no evidence which suggests that pregnant people are very much susceptible to the virus.
There has been a lot of fear which made it difficult for pregnant women to keep or continue keeping their pre-birth or pre-delivery check-ups.
It is wise though to take precautions, such as staying home and practicing physical distancing when outside.”
COVID-19 has made many things change.
Physical distancing is now a must. In most places, pregnant women are given first priority.
The National Health Services (NHS) of England advise that: “After the child is born, it is also important to continue receiving professional support and guidance, including routine immunisations.
Speak to your healthcare provider about the safest way to have these appointments, for you and your baby.
The COVID-19 virus has not been found in vaginal fluid, in cord blood or breastmilk,” says Cadée, although information is still emerging.
To date, COVID-19 has also not been detected in amniotic fluid or the placenta.
There is no maternity facility set aside for COVID-19 patients. This means one needs to avoid this virus at all costs.
Like all other stories in this quarantine, there is a great possibility that women will give birth alone without their spouses supporting them.
“We have to be compassionate and understand each situation as it is and that the healthcare professionals together with the family members are doing their best, using their common sense and listening to each other. I think that’s very important: that we try to work as a community,” said the Midwife Association President of the UK.
“I don’t think women need to take anything extra, but they should take precautions well into account.”
Although it is a difficult time, Cadée recommends trying to see the positive side of having this time to bond as a family.
“Sometimes it can be very busy for young mothers and fathers to have so many visitors,” Cadée said.
“Enjoy the quietness of your (immediate) family together for this time.
It’s quite special to be able to bond with your baby alone, discover that new human being and enjoy that.”
COVID-19 has made humanity change its nature.
If COVID-19 continues, we will all kiss goodbye to the system of congregating to see a newly-born child.
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