The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) has released official guidelines to outline information for pregnant women and new mums surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19).
Here are some helpful videos on COVID-19 and pregnancy:
We know this is a worrying time for all, especially when pregnant. Please try not to worry and follow the advice. Due to the nature of COVID-19 this advice is rapidly changing and updated regularly.
What is the main advice for pregnant women?
- Studies from the UK show that pregnant women are no more likely to get covid 19 than other healthy adults, but they are at slightly increased risk of becoming severely unwell if they do catch covid 19, and are more likely to have pregnancy complications like preterm birth or stillbirth.
- Pregnant women have been included in the list of people at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) as a precaution.
- Those who are pregnant, as a minimum, should follow the same guidance on covid 19 as everyone else (for example about testing or self-isolation), though some pregnant women may wish to take extra precautions.
Key advice for pregnant women during the pandemic:
- Vaccination is recommended in pregnancy. You can get vaccinated against covid 19 if you're pregnant and aged 18 or over. Receiving two doses of the vaccine is the safest and most effective way of protecting you and your baby from covid 19 infection.
- Pregnant women who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, may choose to limit the close contact they have with those they do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading covid 19, particularly if they are in the third trimester.
- Keep mobile and hydrated to reduce the risk of blood clots in pregnancy.
- Stay active with regular exercise, a healthy balanced diet, and folic acid and vitamin D supplementation to help support a healthy pregnancy.
- Attend all of your pregnancy scans and antenatal appointments unless you are advised not to.
What effect does covid 19 have on pregnant women?
- Current evidence from the UK suggests that pregnant women are no more likely to get covid 19 than other healthy adults, but they are at slightly increased risk of becoming severely unwell if they do catch covid 19, and are more likely to have pregnancy complications like preterm birth or stillbirth.
- Roughly two-thirds of pregnant women with covid 19 have no symptoms at all (asymptomatic). Most pregnant women who do have symptoms only have mild cold or flu-like symptoms. However, a small number of pregnant women can become unwell with covid 19. Pregnant women who catch covid 19 are at slightly increased risk of becoming severely unwell compared to non-pregnant women, particularly in the third trimester.
- Studies have shown that there are higher rates of admission to intensive care units for pregnant women with covid 19 compared to non-pregnant women with covid 19. It is important to note that this may be because clinicians are more likely to take a more cautious approach when deciding whether to admit someone to the intensive care unit when a woman is pregnant.
- At present, it is unclear whether pregnancy will impact on the proportion of women who experience 'long covid' or a post covid 19 condition.
- Recent publications have found that pregnant women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds were more likely than other women to be admitted to hospital for covid 19. Pregnant women over the age of 35, those who had a BMI of 25 or more, and those who had pre-existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, were also at higher risk of developing severe illness and requiring admission to hospital.
How will this impact my pregnancy?
- We will continue to safely support and care for you through your pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. Antenatal and postnatal care should be regarded as essential and you should be encouraged to attend, despite being advised to engage with social distancing measures.
- You will initially be booked by a midwife over the phone with antenatal appointments held in the Antenatal clinic at PEH.
- You will be required to wear a mask for all appointments, scans as well as if you have to visit the Pregnancy Assessment Unit (PAU) on Loveridge.
- We may reduce routine appointments, provide more home visits or deliver some care over the phone to reduce the number of times you need to travel and attend hospital/clinics. At present your partner can accompany you to your appointments but this may change at short notice if the situation changes.
- From 38 weeks we ask you and your partner to do a lateral flow test on alternate days and on admission to Loveridge you will be required to do a supervised LFT.
- If you are having an elective caesarean section you will be asked to do 5 daily LFTs and your partner will be required to do alternate day LFTs.
What should I do if I develop a temperature, a new cough, or both, when I am pregnant?
- If you develop a temperature or cough in pregnancy or fell unwell, you should arrange for a PCR test by contacting the covid helpline. While waiting for a test result you should self-isolate.
What happens if I go into labour during my self-isolation period?
- If you go into labour during self-isolation, you should call Loveridge Ward for advice, and tell them that you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection.
- If you have mild symptoms, you will be encouraged to remain at home (self-isolating) in early labour, as usual practice.
How to reduce your risk of catching coronavirus?
- All women and their families should:
- regularly wash your hands
- use a tissue when you or anyone in your family coughs or sneezes, discard it and wash your hands
- avoid contact with anyone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus
- work from home, if possible
- avoid gatherings with friends and family - keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media
- use telephone to contact your GP or other essential services.
We are still open!......
Maternity care is essential during the coronavirus pandemic and services are still running. If you have any concerns about your pregnancy please call Loveridge Ward on 01481224377.
At present, there are no restrictions for birth partners to accompany women to appointments and scans. We also have no restrictions on visitors to the ward, but this may change at short notice.