Maternal Health & COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main advice for pregnant women during COVID-19?
Follow the guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing) and avoid anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus. If in your third trimester (more than 28 weeks pregnant), you should be particularly attentive to social distancing.
What should I do if I develop symptoms of coronavirus while pregnant?
If you show symptoms and suspect you may have contacted COVID-19, inform your doctor or midwife immediately that you have the symptoms. If symptoms are getting worse, this may be a sign that you are developing a more severe infection and require urgent care.
What effect will coronavirus have on my baby if I am diagnosed with the infection?
If you have the virus, it is unlikely to cause problems with your baby’s development, there is also no evidence yet to show that coronavirus infection in early pregnancy leads to miscarriage.
Transmission of the coronavirus from a woman to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth is not common. To date, the virus has not been found in breastmilk nor the water surrounding the baby in the womb.
Can I touch and hold my newborn baby if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
Yes. Close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding helps a baby to grow. You should wash your hands before and after touching your baby and keep all surfaces clean. You should always wear a medical mask, during any contact with the baby.
After delivery, should a baby be immediately placed skin-to-skin and breastfed if the mother is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19?
Yes. Immediate and continued skin-to-skin care should be encouraged, this will help balance the baby’s temperature. Skin-to-skin also helps the mother and child to bond better, and encourage early breastfeeding which also reduces mortality.
Mothers should stay safe by taking simple preventive measures such as avoiding crowded places, close contact with people, regular washing of hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub, coughing into bent elbow or tissue and disposing of the tissue immediately.
Written by Tomiyin Ayibiowu.