How does COVID-19 affect my pregnancy?

There’s still so much more that needs to be learned about COVID-19. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the research on the COVID-19 infection on pregnant women is very limited at the moment. But don’t worry, healthcare professionals are working hard to learn more about the virus through tests and research. Here’s some info that’s currently available on COVID-19 and pregnancy.

Risk of infection

According to WHO, pregnant women are at the same risk of infection as other adults who are not pregnant. In the same way that pregnant women can get colds and flus, as well as other respiratory infections, they can also contract COVID-19.

As a result, pregnant women are also encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. They should also practice social distancing seek medical attention if they are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19.

Prenatal care

It’s encouraged that you continue to attend your prenatal care appointments. When you don’t attend your appointments regularly, you are putting you and your child’s health at great risk. Just make sure that you wear your mask and keep to social distancing guidelines when you are at the clinic.

If you are not sure about something, you can call the official toll-free number on 0800 029 999 or you can simply call your nearest clinic or hospital and ask about prenatal care services. If you are experiencing any pregnancy complications, quickly go to your nearest clinic as they prioritise such emergencies. For expectant mothers who are living with HIV, it is important to keep collecting and taking your treatment as this helps your immune system stay strong, while also helping to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV.

Pregnant women with COVID-19

If you are pregnant and suspect that you might have COVID-19, you are advised to call the toll-free number on 0800 029 999 for assistance with testing. Remember that you and your baby’s health will be taken as a priority. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be provided with immediate and specialised care to help you and your child.

Risk of mother to child transmission

At the moment there is no evidence that suggests that mothers who are tested positive for COVID-19 can pass it to their children through the amniotic fluid or breastmilk once the child is born.

What we do know is that it’s important to adhere to strict hygiene practices to reduce the chances of getting COVID-19 while pregnant or breastfeeding. Make sure that you wash your hands and body regularly, disinfect all surfaces to remove germs and/or any viruses and ensure that you follow prenatal care advice given by your healthcare provider. For more information about pregnancy and COVID-19, give this a read.

Pregnancy is such a sensitive time for expecting mothers and I know that this pandemic has made it more stressful, especially since there’s still so much we need to learn about COVID-19. What we do know, though, is that it’s important to practice social distancing, get prenatal care and practice good hygiene during this time. It’s also helpful to find healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety, as well as to talk to someone (like me) if you are feeling scared or uncertain.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).