Pregnancy in the middle of a global pandemic that is still happening is the perfect recipe for anxiety. This applies to both pregnant women who want to keep their babies and women who want to end their pregnancy.
Is it safe to go to the hospital? Is there anything else I should do to protect my baby? Can I transmit the virus to my unborn baby? Can I still get a late termination? These are just a few of the questions many women have asked themselves and we are here to clarify some of the most important things.
Is it riskier to be pregnant?
A virus like the flu has a higher risk of becoming infected in pregnant women. In an interview about 702, Netcare obstetrician Dr. Bronwyn Moore, however, that this may not be the case with COVID-19.
"At the moment, it doesn't look like pregnant women are more susceptible to the virus than anyone else," said Dr. Bogs.
“We tell our mothers that they just have to follow all prevention guidelines and stay at home as much as possible. This is especially important for mothers who are in the third trimester of their pregnancy and are about to give birth. "
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An important study published in Lancet magazine examined the medical records of women who were born after they tested positive for the virus in Wuhan, China. None of the babies born tested positive for the virus, which led the researchers to conclude that mother-to-baby transmission is highly unlikely, but warned that further studies would be needed.
In April, a woman from Durban was tested positive for COVID-19 when she was admitted to Ahmed Al Kadi's private hospital. She gave birth via cesarean section and her baby was also tested positive for the virus. The hospital released a statement saying that both the mother and child have recovered at home.
In essence, the details of mother-to-child transmission are still rather vague and unclear, but you can be consoled that they will most likely be tested before birth – so all appropriate measures and precautions are taken to ensure that it is safe for you and your baby goes well.
What if I have COVID-19?
Because pregnant women are essentially at the same risk for COVID-19 as everyone else, many procedures and advice about the virus remain the same for pregnant women.
According to MediClinic, the tests for pregnant women are the same as for any other person. At the moment, the tests are swabs that are taken from the mouth and nose.
The advice stays the same even if you get a positive result.
"If your symptoms are mild, you are advised to stay at home to recover. If your symptoms are severe, you may need to be hospitalized," MediClinic said in a statement.
“To avoid the risk of infecting others, it is not advisable to see your doctor or healthcare facility unless clinically necessary. You should better call your doctor or healthcare provider unless clinically necessary. If you are advised to go to a hospital, you should inform the hospital before admission that you have tested positive for the virus or are suspected of being infected with the virus. Please do not hesitate to see a doctor if you are concerned about your baby. "
Will it affect how I give birth?
They add that a positive COVID-19 test shouldn't affect how you give birth – and you'll likely stick to your birth plan as much as possible. However, a caesarean section could be an option if you develop respiratory complications due to the virus.
"There is currently no evidence against the use of methods such as epidural or spinal blocks for pain relief."
If you go into labor during self-isolation, you must contact your hospital and let them know that you are suspected of having COVID-19 and that you are in labor. They will tell you how to go forward.
If you have done an online assessment or suspect that you have COVID-19, never go to a medical facility unannounced. Call your doctor or the hospital and they will give you a way forward.
What happens if I am about to deliver?
Most hospitals have a very specific protocol to ensure that you and your baby are safe and secure during your work and delivery times. While each hospital has its own set of rules (you should call your hospital to find out what the specific protocol is), let's take a look at how Netcare does this to give you an idea of what to expect.
- If you have booked a private room in the hospital, a birth partner (e.g. the father) can take part in the delivery and can stay with the mother for the duration of her time in the hospital. In this case, the birth partner can no longer go and return as soon as he is in the private room.
- If you have your delivery in a private room but are booked on a ward, a birth partner can be there for the delivery and stay with the mother until she is returned to her ward.
- Only one parent may visit the newborn in kindergarten or in the intensive care unit for newborns (NICU).
- Grandparents and other family members are not allowed to visit while the mother is still in the hospital.
Marie Stopes has just launched an incredible telemedical counseling service for women who are unable to get to the center or have access to safe abortion. Through this service, they offer a self-managed pregnancy termination option process (this is not recommended for women who already have an illness).
This option is available for women who are 4 to 9 weeks after their pregnancy. A trained professional will provide all the necessary information about the process – what to expect, the delivery / collection process (for the necessary medication) and aftercare.
Whitney Chinogwenya, marketing and brand manager of Marie Stopes South Africa, told women's health that the service was driven by the need to respond to restrictions that the country is currently facing due to COVID-19.
"This service enables our healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients according to strict protocols to ensure patient safety," said Chinogwenya.
“We see a growing demand for service employees who are becoming more aware of this offer. This enables us to help women in areas where they may not have access to a physical abortion facility. "
CONTINUE READING: Where should you go for a safe abortion in South Africa?
However, if you are between 9 and 12 weeks pregnant, you will need to have your abortion performed surgically. You can do this in several hospitals and local clinics, including Marie Stopes.
"The procedure can also be done in your second trimester (up to 20 weeks), but it must be added that the surgery is more complicated if it is done at that time," said Chinongwenya.
"Based on the stage of your pregnancy, our nurses and doctors will recommend which safe abortion procedure is right for you."
She also recalls that in South Africa the law regulating abortion restricts procedures after 20 weeks, except in some cases where there is a risk to women's lives.
"Abortion is your legal right. We encourage women to avoid backstreet methods and unlicensed doctors, as these unauthorized procedures can lead to serious complications, infections that can lead to prolonged absence from work, permanent infertility and, in the most heartbreaking cases, even death Chinongwenya says.
"Please know that you never have to be embarrassed to think about an abortion. We are here for you."
MomConnect is a telemedicine service launched by the Ministry of Health to support maternal health using mobile phone-based technologies. The service is completely free and provides information for pregnant women, mothers and healthcare workers.
All you have to do is dial * 134 * 550 #, follow the instructions, answer a few questions about your pregnancy and be registered. From then on you will receive regular SMS updates with relevant information, tips and advice on your pregnancy. These will continue to come in until your child is one year old.
READ MORE: Coronavirus Health Health Advice Pregnancy