So much of being a new or expectant mum is unknown and we’re faced with endless questions and uncertainties. When will I go into labor? Will I be able to breastfeed? Will my baby be a good sleeper? Since the COVID-19 outbreak, these questions and uncertainties are only increasing. Lucky for us, the team of midwives from HealthBay Clinic, have done their best to find some information to ease your worries.
What we know about COVID-19 and pregnancy
There is not enough evidence to determine whether the virus is transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or the potential impact this may have on the baby. The good news is that expectant mums do not appear more likely to contract the infection than everyone else. But while pregnant women are not necessarily more susceptible to catching the virus, they do experience changes to their immune system in pregnancy and these changes can be associated with more severe symptoms in certain cases.
So, if you’re expecting, it’s best to continue following the appropriate precautions to protect yourself from exposure to the virus.
What are the measures that the hospitals are taking now?
Hospitals are taking more safety measures to protect the health safety of mums and their babies. Some of these measures include limited visiting hours and only allowing one person in the labour and delivery room. Husbands are typically still allowed to stay in with their wives for her hospital stay. Water births have been suspended for now.
It’s recommended that less people handle your baby, and as rooming in with your baby is the best option, most of hospitals in the UAE are following this rule.
If you are not sure of the new precautions the hospital is taking where you have decided to give birth, you can always call them and ask to speak with their midwives. This may assist to avoid unnecessary stress on the day of your labor.
What we know about COVID-19, newborns and breastfeeding
Breast milk is still the best protection that every mum can offer to her baby.
We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or her baby during pregnancy or delivery but there have been tests on amniotic fluid, cord blood, neonatal throat swabs and breast milk samples from COVID-19 infected mothers and all samples tested negative for the virus.
It seems like the main risk for infants of breastfeeding is the close contact with the mother, who is likely to share the infection by contact (not through the breast milk) if she’s infected with COVID-19.
However, the benefits of breastfeeding overall outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk (RCOG, 2020).
If you are thinking about breastfeeding:
- Wash your hands before touching the baby, breast pump or bottles.
- Avoid coughing or sneezing on the baby while breastfeeding.
- Considering wearing a face mask while breastfeeding, if available.
- Follow recommendations for pump cleaning after each use and properly sterilise your equipment.
- Consider asking someone who is well to feed expressed milk to the baby if you are sick or suspect that you have been infected.
HealthBay Clinic Services
HealthBay Clinic continues to help and support mums and expectant mums. Unfortunately, due to new DHA guidelines, at present they cannot offer any home visits but will be available in the clinic (with all precautions taken). All rooms are being cleaned and disinfected regularly. They are also looking into offering online services.
For more information please call 04 800 4272 or email: email@example.com.