CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFORMATION

 

 

 

The situation with Coronavirus (Covid-19) is changing rapidly. There is little historical knowledge regarding this virus and how it affects pregnant women and their babies. This is the most current advice (as of 20th March 2020) about what you need to know if you are pregnant. The information may change rapidly and I will endeavour to keep this page updated. I will be using information from reputable and credible sources including The Royal Australian & NZ College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG).

It was originally thought that pregnant women would be more at risk of contracting Covid-19 and developing more serious consequences than the general population due to their suppressed immune system. Fortunately this does not seem to be the case. But, if you are pregnant and have other medical issues, you may be at higher risk. HOWEVER, this information may change as time goes on. I believe it is best to err on the side of caution, assume that you could be at greater risk and take all precautions to avoid picking up the virus.

Early Pregnancy

There is no evidence to show an increased risk of abnormalities or miscarriage. However, ANY nasty infection with a high fever in early pregnancy may be associated with miscarriage.

During pregnancy

There is no evidence that the virus is transmitted to the baby during the pregnancy . There is no increased risk of stillbirth. There are now a few babies around the world that have picked up the infection but this seems to have occurred due to close contact with the mother rather than in utero or via breast milk.

Labour and birth

There is still no evidence that Covid-19 is passed to the baby at birth. Infection is not alone an indication for Caesarean section.

Postnatal

Breastfeeding is still recommended. There is no evidence that Coronavirus is transferred to the baby directly from breastfeeding. However, transmission can occur by being in close proximity to the baby. If you have the infection or have symptoms, wearing a mask during breastfeeding and careful handwashing may diminish the risk of transfer.

Current information suggests that transmission to the baby seems unlikely to harm them. BUT, the baby will be infectious and can pass COVID-19 on to vulnerable people (such as grandparents).

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • DO NOT attend your antenatal visit if you are unwell. Ring to let us know and to check if there is anything important related to the pregnancy that needs to be done. Ring your GP for advice.

  • maintain strict hand hygiene and avoid touching your face

  • practice 'social distancing' i.e. avoid public gatherings including gender reveal parties and baby showers

  • if you are unwell, stay home! Do not turn up unannounced to your GP or Obstetrician.

  • restrict visitors to close family only after you have had the baby (both in hospital and at home).

  • DO NOT panic. The majority of the population will only have a mild infection from Covid-19

  • stay up to date and ensure your information comes from credible sources. I will add some links to sensible websites and current guidelines (which will likely be updated very regularly)

RANZCOG advice and information

RCOG information for pregnant women and their families (this is a UK site so advice may differ)

WA Health Department general information

RANZCOG guidelines for pregnant health care workers

St John of God, Murdoch information

Women's and Infants Research Foundation (WIRF) information

Message from Professor John Newnham (Senior Australian of the Year)

 





 

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