COVID-19 and pregnancy
Important information about COVID-19 and pregnancy
We know a lot of pregnant Traveller are worried about COVID-19 and their baby. It’s really important that we get the right information. Mary Brigid and Tracey go through some of your key questions and give accurate information about COVID-19 and pregnancy.
COVID-19 and Pregnancy: The Facts
If you are pregnant and have COVID-19
COVID-19 and Pregnancy: The Facts
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
It can take up to 2 weeks for symptoms of to appear:
- high temperature
- breathing problems
If you have symptoms call your GP right away.
How sick will pregnant women get when they have the virus?
Most pregnant women with COVID-19 have only mild symptoms and are able to self-isolate at home.
Do I have higher risk of getting the virus because I am pregnant?
No, pregnant women do not have a higher risk of getting the virus but when you are pregnant your immune system is weaker to help your baby grow. This means you can pick up infections quicker so it’s very important to:
- Stay at home
- Stay away from older Travellers and Travellers with long-term illnesses
- Keep washing your hands
- Keep disinfecting your home
- Get the flu and whooping cough needles, although they won’t protect you from the virus they will protect you from the flu and whooping cough
What if I am pregnant and have a long term illness?
If you have serious condition or long-term illness like diabetes, high blood pressure or diabetes you do have a higher risk of becoming more sick if you get the virus and so it is very important to make sure to protecting yourself by staying home and staying safe.
I don’t have the virus, can I attend my appointments and scans?
As of now, antenatal appointments are going ahead but maternity hospitals are asking all women to attend appointments and scans alone.
What if I need to go to the emergency room at the maternity hospital?
Emergency rooms in maternity hospitals are still open 24 hours a day but you need to call ahead before coming in.
If you are not feeling well and if you have any of the symptoms, do not come into the hospital. Ring ahead and let them know what symptoms you have and they will be able to advise you on what to do next.
What are the rules on visiting in the hospital?
Most hospitals are still allowing dads or other partners to come with you to the labour ward but check with your hospital beforehand. They will be asked to leave after you’ve had your baby.
Maternity hospitals have banned all visitors during the COVID-19 crisis and you will not be allowed to have any visitors after you’ve had your baby. This is for the protection of mothers and babies.
What if I need extra things for my baby after giving birth?
If you need extra things like nappies or clothes from home after having your baby, your partner or another family member can wait at security and a staff member will come down and get them for you.
What if my baby has to go into intensive care?
Most hospitals are allowing the mother only in for a short amount of time to visit their baby in intensive care.
BUT if you have any of the symptoms, you should not come into the hospital:
- High temperature
- Issues with breathing
- Have come into contact with someone with the virus
Ring ahead and let them know your symptoms and they will be able to advise you on what to do.
What about my family?
It is really important that your family knows that they will not be allowed to visit the hospital at any time.
As we know, for Travellers this is very hard but the hospital is doing its job by trying to protect mothers, workers and babies, especially sick babies as the virus is very dangerous for babies whose lungs and bodies aren’t developed enough to fight the virus.
Staying away is an important step your family can take to show the new baby they care and will do what it takes to protect them.
If you are pregnant and have COVID-19
What will happen to my baby if I get the virus early in my pregnancy?
If you get the virus early in your pregnancy there is no evidence to say you’re at a higher risk for miscarriage.
BUT if you have a high temperature in the first 13 weeks contact your GP immediately as it can increase the risk of complications.
What will happen to my baby if I get the virus later in my pregnancy?
If you get the virus later in your pregnancy there is a small risk that the baby could come early or that you will be asked by the hospital to deliver earlier in case you start to feel worse.
If you notice your baby moving around less than normal, or if you have any other worries, contact your GP or hospital.
What is Covid Placentitis?
Covid Placentitis is a very rare condition that occurs in some pregnant women who have tested positive for COVID-19. It is an infection of the placenta that can lead to complications, including stillbirth. Evidence from around the world shows that there has not been an increase in stillbirths since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
If you notice that your baby is not moving as much as usual, contact your maternity unit to get checked out.
If you are pregnant you should:
- continue to follow the public health measures to protect yourself and your baby from COVID-19
- continue to attend all antenatal appointments
- get the vaccine when it is offered to you
- link in with your local Traveller organisation or Primary Healthcare for Travellers Project if you need further support
Can I attend my appointments and scans if I have the virus?
If you have the virus, the hospital will take extra care before, during and after your baby is born.
All of your appointments and scans will ONLY take place after 2 weeks of self-isolation and 5 days of having no temperature. Your doctor might recommend some extra checks to make sure everything is okay with you and your baby.
What will happen when I go into labour?
DO NOT go to the hospital unless you call ahead as it is important the doctors know so they keep you, your baby and others in the hospital safe.
What will happen once I get to the hospital?
You won’t have to wear a mask during labour but the dad (or other partner) and the health staff will be wearing protective clothing and masks.
You will be checked often and you might need oxygen to help you breathe.
It would be a good idea to think about pain relief and whether or not you would like to have an early epidural because gas and air might interfere more with your breathing.
What will happen when my baby is born?
Your baby will be tested for the virus when they are born. The hospital will ask if you want to keep the baby with you or to have someone else watch the baby while you recover.
If you choose to keep the baby with you, you will both stay in an isolated area. The baby will be kept in an incubator to protect them but can come out for feeding and a bath. When they come out you will have to wear a mask and long-sleeve gown and wash your hands really well before and after touching the baby.
Can I still breastfeed?
Yes, breastfeeding is the best way to bring your baby on and protect them. You can still breastfeed if you have the virus, but when you’re feeding you just have to be really careful, wash your hands and wear a mask. Make sure to tell the hospital if you plan on breastfeeding as they can try to get the Beutler test results back sooner.
Will my baby need more checks?
Your baby will be checked for at least 2 weeks after they’re born and if they develop any signs of the virus, they will need to be tested again.