Covid-19 is a new disease, so there is still a lot to learn about how it spreads and how severe it can be. We are learning more everyday.
While information is limited, pregnant women should be considered a vulnerable or at-risk group. According to advice from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, pregnant women do not appear to be more severely unwell (than the general population) if they do contract COVID-19.
The World Health Organisation has stated that “there is no evidence that pregnant women present with different signs or symptoms or are at higher risk of severe illness. So far, there is no evidence on mother-to-child transmission when infection manifests in the third trimester”
So that you don’t have to leave your home, it’s possible to access Telehealth video calls with a GP, endorsed midwife or other health professional so you can have your questions answered.
For mental health support, PANDA has recently published a resource for expecting and new parents who are worried or experiencing symptoms of anxiety related to the coronavirus and other global crises and disasters. PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline is 1300 726 306 and the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline is 1300 882 436.
The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding, particularly in these times. Breast milk is very effective against infectious diseases because it boosts the baby’s immune system with antibodies. If you do contract COVID-19, make sure you’re practicing good hygiene by washing your hands regularly and wearing a face mask around your baby.
Many hospitals are restricting the number of support people allowed during the birth. Check with your care-provider what the current guidelines are. In some hospitals only one support person is allowed in, and in some cases they are even restricting access of partners.
Many people are considering changing their planned birth place to their home to avoid the potential risk of contracting CoronaVirus at a hospital and/or to receive the support they want.
For women with uncomplicated pregnancies who are being cared for by a competent midwife at home, evidence suggests that homebirth outcomes are as good as or better than outcomes for similar women in a hospital setting. It is certainly worth considering in these unknown times. You can do a search for homebirth midwives in your area and set up a time to have a call or video chat to ask any questions you may have.
Remember that self-care is extremely important. Take time out for yourself, eat as well as possible, rest when you can, avoid too much social media and do more things that bring you joy.
Many people are feeling worried about their birth and postpartum. This is why I created supportive and inspiring online childbirth education. So everyone can feel well supported on their journey and enjoy a positive birth and peaceful postpartum.
You deserve to feel confident and calm about birth and beyond. Please reach out for more support.
Download this free natural birth checklist that covers practical tips and natural suggestions for the three stages of labor. Start feeling more confident about your birth plan.