We celebrate pregnancies! We cherish babies! But above all else we champion parenthood. For some that journey starts in the time of the Coronavirus pandemic. So if you’re feeling anxious or concerned about the coronavirus outbreak, especially if you’re pregnant right now, you’re not alone! To help you through this journey One Fine Baby speaks to Midwife and Emergency Clinical Nurse Consultant Edwina Sharrock, the Founder and Director of Birth Beat, to answer the important questions and guide you with practical tips to help keep you and your baby healthy as well as ensure you’re prepared for your best birth.
What do we know about Coronavirus?
The novel coronavirus (novel means new) was first identified in the Hubei Province, China, where there are now thousands of confirmed cases. While the virus continues to spread globally, only 2% of all cases worldwide have resulted in death and a percentage of these people already had pre-existing health conditions.
It’s also true that as a direct result of COVID-19, hospitals nationally are now closing their maternity units to visitors, services are being limited, and childbirth education classes are being cancelled.
During pregnancy immune systems are weak, so how do women protect themselves and their baby?
As you’re no doubt well aware, when you’re pregnant your immune system is compromised, so you are at a greater risk of contracting illnesses and viruses. However, the risk of you falling ill with the coronavirus is low.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The range of symptoms in confirmed cases ranges from little to no symptoms at all, to some people becoming severely ill. In general, the most common signs of coronavirus include flu-like symptoms, fever, shortness of breath and a cough.
What should women do if they do think they have the virus?
If you’re pregnant and have any of the coronavirus symptoms, you should:
- Stay home and call your healthcare practitioner immediately.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, throw it in the bin immediately, then wash your hands.
- Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched frequently.
- You should isolate yourself from public places including work for a 14-day period.
Can Coronavirus be passed on to babies?
There is little evidence that the coronavirus will affect your unborn baby. Like any cold, flu or virus – common-sense hygiene practices are your best defence. So you shouldn’t feel any undue stress or anxiety about coronavirus, but if you’re worried, make sure you speak to your healthcare provider.
Are there simple ways to prevent contracting coronavirus in pregnancy?
Yes! These steps are often overlooked but they’re ideal for minimising your risk of contracting the coronavirus (or any cold or flu for that matter):
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating or touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth. Especially when you’re out in public.
- If soap and water aren’t available to you, carry an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Although, if your hands are visibly dirty you should be washing them with soap and water.
- Avoid close contact with anyone you know that is unwell or has been sick in the past 14 days.
- Avoid any non-essential travel to China.
What alternatives are there to hospital birthing classes?
There are a range of online childbirth education courses, which totally replace the need to go to a hospital class. They’re also really easy to access from home and offer complete antenatal classes covering when to go to the birth suite or call your care providers.
What is the most trusted source regarding the Coronavirus and where can people turn to for information?
The World Health Organisation is currently releasing up to the minute accurate information. There latest updates confirmed that there have been a few cases of infants with COVID-19 and they experienced mild illness. So far, there is no evidence of mother-to-baby transmission, and when researchers tested women who were infected, the samples of amniotic fluid, cord blood, vaginal discharge, newborn throat swabs, and breast milk have all been negative. Some reports of PROM (premature rupture of membranes), fetal distress, and preterm birth have been reported when mothers became infected in the third trimester. The mode of birth should be individualised and Cesarean used only when it is medically justified and the standard infant feeding guidelines should be followed with appropriate precautions for infection prevention and control.
Also, for more details on the current coronavirus situation, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.
More about Birth Beat...
Birth Beat offers antennal classes, online birthing classes and a Baby and Child First Aid online course, which covers:
- CPR: Possibly the most important thing you need to know. It is critical that you know how to manage this in an emergency.
- Choking: This is a scary and super common one. A must for all parents with young children.
- Drowning: It is still one of the most common causes of death for toddlers. Prevention is better than cure here but always know how to deal with this emergency.
- Burns and scalds: A frightening thought and like drowning prevention is far better than cure but we show you how to manage burns and scalds. Acting quickly here is critical.
- Fever and febrile convulsions: A very common presentation to hospitals.
- Vomiting and dehydration: Another common one and it’s super important you know how to manage this and know what signs indicate needing to see a health professional.
- Breathing illnesses (asthma, allergies, anaphylaxis): Some very practical ways to manage and identify these breathing illnesses.
- Broken bones and head injuries: Oh boy, so common and can be so distressing for parents and children.
- Bite and stings: This one you will learn how to manage snake bites to bees and spiders.
- Poisons: Again scarily common and super important to know who to call and when
SPECIAL OFFER: Birth Beat in collaboration with One Fine Baby is offering $20 OFF the Baby & Child First Aid online course with lifetime access (valued at $197), valid until Monday 30th March only. Simply book your Birth Beat course now and enter the discount code OFB$20 at checkout.