Having a baby, at any time, can be daunting, let alone being faced with pregnancy during the coronavirus lockdown. For some coping methods and things to know, read on…
As an expecting mother or father, I’m sure you’re really looking forward to welcoming your new child to the world. Whether you’re having a baby boy or girl, you may also be feeling a little bit of apprehension too, right? Well, couple this with having your baby during the coronavirus lockdown, and I’m sure you’re feeling like a bag of nerves!
When having a baby in hospital during lockdown, your doctors will support you and the baby just as normal. From protecting your baby from birth injuries, such as avoiding cerebral palsy from medical negligence, as well as ensuring no illnesses are caught along the way, the doctors and midwives will still do their best. That said, you may still have some concerns that need addressing.
Today, I’ll be addressing these concerns by answering some of your burning questions about being pregnant and giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic. I’ll also tell you a little bit about what you can expect from giving birth in hospital during this time. So, for all this, and more, you came to the right place…
Your Coronavirus Pregnancy Questions Answered
If you’re pregnant during these crazy times, it’s no doubt that you’ll be feeling a little more anxious than you might normally. There are so many unanswered variables about a situation like this, as it’s something we’ve never really experienced before, in the modern age. So, here are some answers to the questions you’re likely to have, to help put your mind at ease…
Am I More at Risk of Catching the Virus if I’m Pregnant?
As of today’s coronavirus information, there is no evidence to show that pregnant women are more susceptible to coronavirus. That said, it’s no secret that women who are pregnant may be more likely to catch flu-like respiratory illnesses. What’s more, there is some indication to show that women may be more at risk during their third trimester.
However, because the disease is so new, and something we haven’t yet encountered before, we can only do the best we can to avoid infection. So, with this in mind, the overwhelming advice is to simply take the necessary precautions to avoid social contact.
Is my Unborn Baby in Danger Due to the Coronavirus?
With such an uncertain time as this, you may be worried about a number of factors regarding your new baby. Some of these worries might include:
· Whether contracting the virus could cause congenital defects in the baby;
· Whether you may have a miscarriage or stillborn if you contract coronavirus when pregnant;
· Or whether your baby’s foetal development will be stunted if you are sick with the virus.
Although, again, there is no confirmed data to show us that coronavirus could harm your unborn baby, taking precautions is the best course of action. The only correlation in China between child births and coronavirus is that more babies were born prematurely. However, due to the small database we have at the moment, it cannot be certain if there is a link between these outcomes.
Overall, there is simply not enough data or scientific research, as of yet, to provide solid answers. The best you can do is follow social distancing guidelines as stringently as possible, to ensure no harm can enter your home.
What Should I do if I Require Medical Assistance During my Pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant in the normal world – and today’s world is anything but normal – you’re likely to attend antenatal classes relatively frequently. That said, due to social distancing guidelines, gathering in groups like this, or even with your midwife, is not advised. So, some of the best things to do if you’re pregnant during lockdown include:
· Contacting your midwife to let them know you’re in lockdown, and won’t be attending classes;
· Not travelling to the doctor’s surgery or A&E for any reasons unless it’s an emergency;
· If you require urgent medical advice, call the 111 service;
· Or, if you require one-to-one advice on your unborn baby, get in contact with your midwife or GP.
Of course, in emergency cases, like a serious injury or labour, you will most likely need to head to the hospital. If this is a case, and hospital attendance is compulsory, travelling in private transport is paramount. So, take your car, or ask a friend to drive you to the hospital, but by no means catch any public transport of any kind.
Once on the premises, try to restrict social contact, and alert the reception of your presence. Here, you’ll be advised by professionals on how best to act from here on in. After all, they’ve now been coping with these unprecedented situations for weeks now, so they will know the drill!
Ways to Cope with Pregnancy During Isolation
When you’re pregnant in isolation, it can become, well, isolating. What’s more, it may become more difficult to adhere to the doctor’s recommendations as easily as normal. With this in mind, some tips for staying sane during your pregnancy, as well as maintaining doctor and government advice, include:
· Create an at home exercise routine: of course, you can’t be out and about all the time right now. So, exercising in your living room is the next best thing, using online tutorials to show you the ropes. You can find inspiration online through exploring top tips for exercising whilst pregnant, so have fun with it!
· Go outside once a day: making sure to get some fresh air every day is also important. Take a walk around the block, or even just head out into the garden, so you can make the most of every day.
· Eat healthily: it may seem obvious, but eating healthily can not only boost your immunity and wellbeing, but your child’s too. By absorbing all those nutrients, you’ll be able to fight off infection better, and you’ll feel invigorated for each day ahead of you.
· Keep in contact with medical professionals: just because you’re in lockdown, doesn’t mean there’s no one around to talk to. Your doctor and midwife are just on the other end of the phone, so don’t hesitate to contact them if you’re concerned about anything.
· Have someone else collect your groceries: due to your current state, you may be more at risk than the average person to contract the virus. So, your one salvation is to limit your contact with other people, which may require you to rely on friends and family for basic necessities.
· Download apps to help: there are a number of apps around right now, not just for mental wellbeing and mindfulness, but also specifically for pregnant women. So, for some advice and reassurance you might otherwise get from your antenatal community, iMumz is the answer. It’s specifically designed to keep pregnant women informed with tips, tricks and ideas to stay sane right now.
Julianna from Blush and Camo is pregnant and due to give birth in August. She is also moving house this month! To avoid contact with the removal workers, she is moving 2 weeks earlier and going to stop with her Dad for a month. Her husband is staying behind to organise the removals and then having 2 weeks self isolation in the new house before Julianna moves there.
Giving Birth During Coronavirus Lockdown
Okay, so the baby is arriving, but now what? Hospital measures for giving birth will be a little different to what you may have been expecting, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve been forgotten. For some further advice about what to expect once you reach the doctor’s surgery in labour, don’t go anywhere…
Jenny from Accidental Hipster Mum gave birth last week, this was her experience.
‘This is my third child and the ward looked the same but quieter, only one birth partner allowed and only during active labour – no visiting so there were fewer people about. My husband was there for the birth but got booted out 6hrs later then in the morning they discharged me after breakfast. The Dr didn’t see me and they did a hearing test on the ward, then a midwife discharged me which isn’t the norm. My husband was only allowed on the ward to get my stuff once, so if I’d had more bags, I’d have had to wait with the bags off the ward while he did two trips to the car.
When I came home I didn’t get a midwife visit, just a phonecall and then I had to go to a midwife appointment on day 5 to get baby weighed and I’ll be back on day 10. I haven’t heard from my health visitor at all and I don’t know who she is (although I think I’ve been given a number somewhere). There are no weighing clinics, breastfeeding support is done over the phone and there are no drop ins for advice. I’ve been told I can ring any time but I’m less likely to ring for something trivial, whereas if I was there in person I’d feel more comfortable having a chat about whatever it was.
Giving Birth Whilst Infected with Coronavirus
Hospitals right now are completely overwhelmed, and are being flooded with ill patients requiring assistance. Not only does this mean that there might not be enough room for you, but you may also be at risk of infection.
Because of this, most pregnant women will be transferred to an obstetric unit to give birth. This way, the mother and baby can be monitored regularly, and any worrying changes can be adhered to.
Like any pregnancy, following your birth plan as closely as possible is still the go-to during this pandemic. So, unless unforeseen circumstances take hold, everything should continue as planned.
The one element of your birth, which may be different to the plan, is that, by the time you give birth, it may be common pandemic practice to limit the attendees. So, if your midwife is present, which they most likely will be, then your partner may not be allowed to join. Of course, this can be difficult for many expecting parents, but these circumstances, unfortunately, require strange actions.
Separation After Giving Birth
In China, some women are being advised to separate from their babies for 14 days after giving birth. This way, they can ensure that the baby will not experience any infection from their mother.
However, it’s common knowledge that these 14 days are required to ensure bonding and feeding can take place. So, it’s best that the benefits and risks are discussed with your doctors before any rash decisions are made.
Similarly, even with coronavirus symptoms, women are still encouraged to breastfeed their child. As long as both mother and baby are being monitored by healthcare professionals throughout the early stages, everything should continue as normal.
Going Home with Your New Baby During Lockdown
After giving birth, you may be wondering how you can look after your baby, without the usual check-ups and support from carers after birth. Understandably, midwives are having to decide who is worth visiting personally, how much time they spend in peoples’ homes, and whether they should visit in person at all!
With this in mind, you may have to do things a little differently. Now, online support from carers is being experimented with. So, whether it be a phone call for some advice, or a video call for a virtual mother and baby check-up, you can put your mind at ease.
Excited for Your New Arrival?
Hopefully, after reading all this, your questions have been answered about pregnancy and having a baby during these strange times. Although I’m sure this wasn’t what you expected when you got pregnant, we all have to make the best of this situation, and take positives where we can. Just remember, by the end of it all, you’ll have a new baby to welcome home!
If you have anything to add, please do leave a comment below. Most of us are completely in the dark about all this, so the best we can do is chip in and help one another where we can. Good luck, and enjoy your new arrival!
This piece has been researched, however, always listen to your local authorities advice, your government and doctor x