Pregnancy and the coronavirus: what you need to know

 

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! You have an exciting and special time ahead of you. It will also be a time full of questions. What to expect? What can and can’t you eat? And what if something goes wrong?

It is perfectly normal to sometimes feel insecure when you’re pregnant. Especially now. Being pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic can be extra nerve-wracking for expecting parents. What if you’re pregnant and you get infected with the coronavirus? Is this dangerous for your unborn child? What about giving birth in a hospital? And how should you arrange your maternity visits?

These are all questions that you want to have answered to feel reassured, to feel more confident or to prepare yourself better. At Difrax, we understand. That's why in this article, we’ll try to answer all your possible questions about being pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pregnancy and the coronavirus

Are you at risk, and is it dangerous for your baby?

Being pregnant during this pandemic is different than usual. Your partner may not always be allowed to go with you to the midwife, and your mother or best friend might not be able to join you for an ultrasound. This is a pity, because you want to share these special moments with the people around you. But it also makes sense. By limiting the number of contacts, the midwife keeps her chances of infection to a minimum.

Being pregnant does not put you at greater risk if you catch the coronavirus. Unless you have other underlying illnesses, you will not get more sick than other healthy people. Being pregnant does affect your immune system a bit, which might increase your chances of getting infected, but this hasn’t been proven yet.

It doesn't seem dangerous for your baby either if you get the coronavirus during your pregnancy. So far, no virus has been found in the umbilical cord blood or amniotic fluid of infected mothers. This means that, so far, there are no indications that your baby may become infected with the coronavirus during pregnancy if you, the mother, are ill.

Coronavirus and giving birth

What to expect of a home and hospital delivery?

Want to give birth at home or in the hospital? Maybe you already decided this before you were even pregnant, or maybe you still don’t know what to choose. In both situations, there is often only one other person allowed to be present during the delivery. This will most likely be your partner. If your partner has any symptoms associated with the coronavirus, he or she may have to wear protective clothing.

Are you giving birth in hospital and do you need to stay for more than a couple of hours? Then it’s probably not possible to welcome visitors other than your partner. That can be a disappointment, especially if you have to stay longer than a day. Often, siblings are allowed to come to the hospital to admire the baby.

What if you have tested positive for the coronavirus when it’s time for the delivery? You don’t need to be afraid that you won’t be allowed into the hospital or that the midwife won’t want to come over. Also, just like in normal times, after the birth, the baby will be laid on your chest for skin-to-skin contact. You do need to wash your hands before and put on a face mask because your baby can get infected after the delivery.

Breastfeeding and the maternity period

Can you breastfeed? And can you have visitors?

So far, the coronavirus has not been found in breast milk. So, it is not possible to infect your baby with your own breast milk if you have tested positive for the coronavirus. However, during the feeding process, you are in close contact with your baby, which could potentially transmit the virus. Therefore, you should always wash your hands thoroughly before you feed your baby, and it is recommended that you wear a face mask. Despite the fact that the coronavirus seems to have only a mild effect on babies, you naturally want to prevent your baby from becoming infected.

When it comes to maternity visits, you should do what feels right for you. This is always the case, so the coronavirus doesn’t make a difference. It is advised to follow the relevant coronavirus measures. Invite no more than three people a day and ask people with possible coronavirus symptoms to stay at home. Keep your distance (1.5 meters) inside the house, too, so as to prevent the risk of infection for yourself and your baby. You can decide whether or not visitors can hold the baby. This is not completely according to the rules, but we can imagine that you want the people close to you to have a closer look at your baby.

Pregnancy and the coronavirus: different than usual

Everything is a little different when you’re pregnant during a global pandemic. The visits to the midwife, giving birth, and the maternity visits after your baby has arrived. This may raise questions and uncertainties, especially if you get infected with the coronavirus yourself. However different and difficult it may be, try your best to enjoy this time anyway. Being pregnant is an exciting time, but it is also beautiful and special, even now. Don’t forget that.