The update of the British College of Obstetricians-Gynecologists about pregnant women and their families, with our own adaptation to the Greek context.
- How does coronavirus affect pregnant women?
Coronavirus does not appear to have a more negative effect on pregnant women than it does for the general population. It is estimated that the majority of pregnant women will experience mild or moderate symptoms such as the flu. So far, no coronavirus death has been reported in a pregnant woman.
However, if you are pregnant, you are more vulnerable to infections than a woman who is not. In addition, if you have another condition, such as asthma or diabetes, the impact of coronavirus in you may be greater.
- How will coronavirus affect my baby if I am infected?
As a completely new virus, we are now beginning to learn about it. So far, there is no evidence indicating an increased risk of miscarriage. The same goes for whether the virus can pass into the fetus during pregnancy. Therefore, if you get the virus it is unlikely that your baby will be affected.
In China, some cases of preterm birth have been reported in pregnant women with coronavirus. However, it is not clear if this was the result of the illness or whether it was a matter of choice for doctors for the sake of women’s health.
- What can I do to reduce my risk of getting a coronavirus?
The most important thing is to wash your hands regularly and properly when returning home from work or public places. All recommendations for preventing colds and flu, such as avoiding overcrowding, also apply.
- What if I want to travel?
Ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage and that your travel insurance covers your baby’s childbirth and care if you need to give birth overseas.
- What should I do if I believe I have the virus?
If you are pregnant and have a high fever or have a cough, contact your doctor and 1135, the National Public Health Organization’s four-digit number, for instructions.
- What kind of control should I do for the coronavirus?
At this stage, only patients with severe symptoms requiring hospitalization are screened for coronavirus. If you are asked to have a test, this will be done with a nasal and oral smear.
- What should I do if the test for coronavirus is positive?
If you are found positive for coronavirus, you should contact your obstetrician and let him know about your diagnosis. If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are mild, it will be advisable to stay home for recovery. Otherwise, you may need hospitalization.
- Why do I need to be isolated?
You will be asked to remain isolated at home if you have a fever or cough or have been tested positive for coronavirus.
- What should I do if I am asked to remain isolated?
You need to stay at home and avoid contact with others. Ventilate the rooms well, stay as isolated as possible, away from other family members, use your own towels, dining utensils, and dine at a different time. Also, ask friends or family members to help you with outside work and shopping, but leave shopping out of the house. Depending on your situation, you can do some exercises such as yoga or pilates.
- What about my prenatal care if I’m in isolation?
You should contact your doctor and ask for advice. It is likely that routine checks will be postponed until the end of isolation. If your doctor thinks your appointment cannot be delayed, he will do whatever it takes to see you. For example, he may ask you to visit him at a time or place that ensures that you do not get in touch with other patients.
- What happens after my recovery from the virus?
If you have had a confirmed coronavirus infection, you will be checked by ultrasound 14 days after recovering to confirm that your baby is well. If you have recovered and your next test for coronavirus is negative, where and how you give birth will not be affected by the infection you went through.
- What will I do if my condition worsens or I am worried about my baby during isolation?
It is not advisable to visit the maternity hospital or hospital unless you require urgent hospitalization or in case of an emergency birth. If you are concerned about your or your baby’s condition during your isolation, contact your obstetrician and obstetrician team for further advice. If you need to be transported for hospitalization, you will be asked to use a private transport or ambulance and notify the reception department of the institution in advance.
- Will my isolation for possible infection by coronavirus affect where I will give birth?
You will need to give birth in a maternity hospital (this is the case for the vast majority of births in Greece) so that your baby and oxygen levels in your blood are constantly monitored.
- Will my isolation for possible infection by coronavirus affect how I will give birth?
So far, there is no indication that you cannot have vaginal delivery or that it would be safer to have cesarean section if you are considered a possible coronavirus patient or are confirmed to be positive for the virus. However, if your respiratory condition is affected, you may need to have a caesarean section. Also, there is no indication that women with coronavirus cannot have an epidural.
- What if the delivery coincides with my isolation period?
You will receive relevant advice from your obstetrician and, when you are transferred to the obstetrician hospital, the nursing staff will ensure that the precautions provided, such as providing you with a surgical mask, are adhered to until you are in a properly secured area.
- Can I transmit the virus to my baby?
As it is a new virus, there is not enough information on this issue. But there are no reports of women diagnosed with coronavirus during the third trimester and transmitting the virus to the fetus.
- Will my baby be tested for corona virus?
Yes, if there is any suspicion or certainty that it would have corona virus during birth, your baby will be tested.
- Will I be able to stay with my baby after birth?
Yes, if that’s your choice. Prerequisite, that your baby is well and does not require introduction to the neonatal unit.
In China, cases have been reported where women with confirmed coronavirus infection were asked to stay away from their babies for 14 days. However, this is estimated to have a negative impact on breastfeeding and the development of the mother-child bond. This is a topic you should discuss with your family and doctor, and guidelines may change as we learn more about coronavirus.
- Can I breastfeed my baby?
Yes. At present, there is no evidence that the virus is detected in breast milk, so the recognized benefits of breast-feeding outweigh the potential risks of transmitting the virus through breast-feeding.
The main risk of breastfeeding is the close contact between you and the baby, which can lead to infant infection after birth. Here too, the guidelines may change as we know the virus better. If you choose to breast-feed your baby, it is recommended that you wash your hands before touching your baby or the breast-feeding pump, try to avoid coughing or sneezing at your baby during breast-feeding, consider face coverage with a mask during breastfeeding and follow the instructions for cleaning the breastfeeding pump after use.
If you do not use breast milk, it is recommended that you follow the equipment’s sterilization instructions carefully.
- I am a health worker and pregnant. What should I do?
The period we are going through is naturally of extra concern to you if you are pregnant. From our knowledge so far, pregnant healthcare professionals are no more vulnerable to the virus or its complications than their non-pregnant colleagues.
However, coronavirus infection can pose some risks to your unborn baby. If you are seriously ill, there is a possibility that the development of the fetus may decrease or there may be a need for premature birth. You should consider your case with the management of the organization to which you belong.