We understand that our patients may be feeling anxious and worried at this time – and confused about the implications the coronavirus may have on their pregnancy. Please read on to understand how we are managing the risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic and what measures we are employing to prevent the spread of the infection and ensure your pregnancy is unaffected.
What effect does COVID-19 have on pregnant women?
It is difficult to be completely certain because COVID-19 is a new virus. Our current observations are;
- Pregnant women don’t seem more likely to get this infection
- If a pregnant woman is infected, the symptoms seem to be no more severe than non-pregnant women
- No pregnant woman has lost her life as a result of COVID-19
- The vast majority of pregnant women are expected to experience only mild to moderate cold or flu-like symptoms
- There is no evidence of an increased risk to the pregnancy, such as miscarriage, prematurity, fetal abnormalities or any other complications
All in all, my advice to patients is that I am not worried about you, but I am worried about the virus spreading through our community and affecting our weaker members.
If I am diagnosed with coronavirus during my pregnancy, what effect will it have on my baby?
It appears that a maternal infection does not pose a risk to your baby.
Can I pass coronavirus on to my baby?
There is no evidence at present that coronavirus can cross the placenta and cause an infection during the pregnancy.
Do I need to change my birth plan because of COVID-19 risk?
There is no need to change your birth plan, regardless of how you expect the baby to be born. You can still have skin to skin contact with your baby, and you can still breastfeed.
What should I do if I think I have had contact with a person with COVID-19?
What happens if I am quarantined during or before my pregnancy?
During your period of quarantine, you will be unable to attend appointments. But don’t worry, we will come up with a plan to ensure your safety, and your baby’s safety.
If you suspect you need to self-quarantine or have been told to undergo quarantine, please contact us by calling (03) 9418 8299.
Our first priority is the safety and care of your pregnancy, and we will make the required adjustments to reduce the spread of coronavirus through our community. It may be necessary to defer certain appointments or communicate by teleconference. We will decide together what’s best for your particular situation.
What happens if I go into labour while quarantined?
I always recommend that patients who think they are in labour CALL DELIVERY SUITE directly on (03) 9418 8302 24 hours a day.
The midwives will assess your symptoms and provide advice in consultation with me when required.
It is most likely that you will be advised to attend the hospital, as usual. The hospital will institute very strict infection controls. Examples could include you being isolated to your room or staff wearing protective equipment such as disposable gowns and masks.
You will not be told to stay at home from the hospital because you are quarantined, or even if you have coronavirus.
Should I still go to work while pregnant?
There is no advice from any official bodies that pregnant women should exclude themselves from work at any stage in the pregnancy. This is because pregnant women generally experience mild symptoms of coronavirus.
If your work advises that you shouldn’t attend, this is usually to reduce the spread of the virus to the community rather than to you as a pregnant woman, and that is a decision to be made by your employer.
What are you doing to reduce the impact of coronavirus on my pregnancy?
Being a private practice, we have been able to adapt quickly to the changing circumstances, and all pregnancy appointments will proceed as usual.
While we are not concerned about coronavirus in our pregnant patients, we absolutely want to limit spread through the community and to our vulnerable members.
The following strategies have been instituted;
- Pregnant patients attend as usual in person
- You can only bring your partner to the appointment
- You will be called in advance with instructions
- Maximum two patients in the waiting room at one time. Patients must call ahead to check if they are able to come to the consulting suite
- Gaps have been placed in our consulting schedule to avoid a build-up of waiting patients
- Non-pregnant patients where possible are having virtual appointments by video conference and therefore will not be in the waiting room
- All patients wash hands with soap on arrival, then apply alcoholic disinfectant to their dry hands
- We will not shake your hand. Sorry…
I’m still worried, what can I do?
There are always worries associated with pregnancy. We always encourage patients to seek help from us when needed, and the coronavirus pandemic is no exception.