A nurse and public health expert (who’s moreover pregnant herself) answers the most urgent Coronavirus Pregnancy questions for mamas in Singapore
Being pregnant is a happy and heady wits that should be shared with family and friends. However, the recent novel coronavirus outbreak has caused fear and uncertainty among many parents well-nigh how vulnerable groups such as pregnant women will be affected. In December, when I became pregnant with my second child, COVID-19 was not yet in the news. But as the outbreak worsened, I became increasingly concerned with how this new virus would stupefy vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions, and pregnant women.
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of acquiring unrepealable illnesses. During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is suppressed to a unrepealable stratum so that the soul does not mount an immune response versus the growing fetus. This makes the woman first, increasingly vulnerable to rhadamanthine sick and second, increasingly likely to wits worse symptoms than a non-pregnant woman. In 2003, during the SARS outbreak (a virus very similar to COVID-19), pregnant women were shown to have increasingly serious symptoms than non-pregnant women. But does the same hold true for COVID-19?
Elevated stress in pregnancy can rationalization upper thoroughbred pressure, sleeping problems, and headaches. Stuff unable to explain the virus response to our children and help them understand why our lives are so variegated brings widow stress and confusion. However, I have found in my clinical wits that the increasingly educated you are well-nigh a disease, the less uneasiness you will have and the increasingly prepared you will be for any outcome. Parents need information from legitimate sources in order to minimize their stress virtually the virus and to help them finger increasingly empowered during this worrying time.
Here are answers to a few worldwide questions well-nigh pregnancy and COVID-19:
Am I increasingly susceptible to getting COVID-19 considering I am pregnant? If I do get the virus, will my symptoms be worse than those in non-pregnant women?
Due to the physiological changes in their immune system, pregnant women may be increasingly susceptible to COVID-19 infection. The good news is that so far, studies show similar symptoms are seen in pregnant women as those seen in non-pregnant women: fever, cough, shortness of breath, and lymphopenia (low level of one type of white thoroughbred cell). These symptoms are not increasingly severe in pregnant women than non-pregnant women and so far, no pregnant women have died of COVID-19 infection. However, considering of the changes in their immune system, pregnant women are at higher risk for developing complications without COVID-19 infection, expressly if they ripened pneumonia during their illness. This is why it is expressly important for pregnant women to protect themselves from infection of any kind during pregnancy.
If I do get COVID-19, can I pass the virus to my unborn baby? Can I pass it to them through breastfeeding?
So far, there is no evidence that a mother can pass the virus to their babies in utero. The virus has moreover not been found in the breastmilk of mothers infected with COVID-19 who have just given birth. However, if the mother still has zippy COVID-19 infection, she may pass it to her newborn through tropical contact without birth.
What should I do if I suspect that I have COVID-19?
If you suspect that you may be infected with the virus (you develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath) and you are pregnant, you will need to undeniability your doctor as soon as possible (click here for a list of local doctors with coronavirus testing abilities). They will triage your symptoms and requite you instructions well-nigh what to do next. If you have wide symptoms, such as worsening shortness of breath, go to your nearest emergency department. It is important for pregnant women to be tested as soon as possible so they can be monitored or treated early on in the disease progression in order to stave complications.
What uneaten precautions should I be taking right now considering I am pregnant?
Pregnant women should follow the same precautions as everyone else. The most important thing you can do to stave stuff infected is to stay healthy and practice good personal hygiene. Stay healthy by taking walks in the fresh air (minding social distancing rules) and spending time with those you love. Practice good hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly with soap, stave touching your face, and staying yonder from people who are sick.
Should I wear a mask to protect myself from COVID-19?
If you are healthy, you do not need to wear a mask. If you have a unprepossessed or are coughing and sneezing from allergies, you should wear a mask to stave spreading the droplets. Pregnant women should not superintendency for someone with COVID-19 unless it is veritably necessary, but if you have to, you should wear a mask while in tropical contact with them. Wearing a mask while healthy provides very little protection versus COVID-19 and can collect virus particles on its surface and, if not taken off properly, can hands transfer to your hands when you touch the mask.
Should I get the flu shot while pregnant? Will it weaken my immune system and make me plane increasingly vulnerable to COVID-19?
As stated, pregnant women are increasingly susceptible to illnesses, expressly respiratory illnesses. This includes the seasonal influenza. Pregnant women who are infected with flu are increasingly likely to wits severe complications and could put the fetus at risk for low lineage weight, preterm lineage or innate abnormalities. While it does not protect you from COVID-19, it is highly recommended that pregnant women in their second or third trimester get the flu shot to protect themselves from the flu. The flu shot does not weaken the mother’s immune system and in fact, can provide “passive protection” of the fetus by transferring flu antibodies to the fetus via the placenta. This is expressly important in protecting the newborn from flu when they are first born, since they cannot receive the flu shot until without they are six months old.
Have hospital wordage protocols in Singapore reverted in response to stricter Circuit Breaker measures?
There may be hospital-specific protocols for pregnant women who have zippy COVID who are delivering, i.e. they may be separated from their newborn for up to 14 days. Policies may moreover vary depending on whether a hospital is moreover caring for Covid-19 patients.
Maternity wards are considered “healthy” wards, meaning staff do not bladder between wards to work and the mums that come in are there to requite birth, not to receive treatment for something. Singapore once has rules in place limiting the number of people in the room during wordage (usually just the father – your doula may not be worldly-wise to be worldly-wise to shepherd your birth). NUH’s current visitor policy during COVID can be found here. Children are not unliable to trailblaze patients to their appointments.
Since the government instituted circuit breaker measures on 8 April, some hospitals and individual doctor practices have informed pregnant patients that their partner will not be unliable to trailblaze them during delivery. For instance, husbands may be unliable for natural deliveries, but not C-Sections. Mount Elizabeth told us that husbands are allowed in the wordage room, as did Thomson, though husbands are required to register and undergo health checks beforehand. According to Johanna Wagner, President of Doulas of Singapore, for now Gleneagles and Thomson have both confirmed that doulas may be present to support during birth, but she, too, is under the impression that husbands will be unable to trailblaze their wives into the operating theatre for a C-Section.
Ms Julie Tay, Assistant Director of Nursing for the Wordage Suite at KKH (Singapore’s largest maternity hospital), told us that the hospital has employed stringent measures such as wearing a mask at all times in the Wordage Suite, and requiring parents, visitors and caregivers to declare their health status, travel history and contact history surpassing accessing the hospital. KKH’s most up-to-date visitor policy can be found here.
Once again, withstand in mind that the situation is completely fluid and no official policies have been announced, so it is unchangingly weightier to check with both your doctor and your intended hospital for the latest information; do know that there is a possibility that your partner may not be worldly-wise to trailblaze you during lineage though, mama. (Did we mention doulas can moreover provide remote support? Stay tuned for increasingly on this coming soon…)
Got increasingly questions well-nigh coronavirus and pregnancy? Check out these other online resources:
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