COVID-19 PREGNANCY INFORMATION

 

 

 

The situation with Covid 19 is changing rapidly. There is now a lot of knowledge about the effects of Covid 19 in pregnancy but new information continues to appear and it is important to keep up to date. This is also relevant as new strains of the virus arrive and may have different implications for pregnancy.

 

This is the most current advice (as of 6th March 2022) about what you need to know if you are pregnant. I will endeavour to keep this page relevant but the links to other sites are generally the most up to date. I will be using information from reputable and credible sources including The Royal Australian & NZ College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), ATAGI, TGA, etc.

 

VACCINATION

The most important information on this page is GET VACCINATED. Vaccination is by far the best way to protect yourself and your baby from the effects of Covid. Have the vaccine (including a booster) as soon as possible AT ANY STAGE OF YOUR PREGNANCY. There is strong scientific evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective. It may not prevent you picking up the virus but it WILL minimize your risk of requiring hospitalization, ending up in ICU or dying. Unvaccinated pregnant women are still a significant proportion of the cases in ICU around the world.

Please read this statement from RANZCOG regarding vaccination in pregnancy: here

COVID 19 IN PREGNANCY

 

Women who get Covid 19 during their pregnancy are at increased risk of complications. These include hospitalization, admission to ICU, death (22 times increased risk!), preeclampsia, preterm birth and stillbirth. Fortunately all of these complications are significantly less likely to occur in fully vaccinated women. It is therefore important to get vaccinated but also follow the basic simple guidelines to minimize your chance of picking up the infection.

Please read this information from RANZCOG regarding Covid-19 in pregnancy: here

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • GET VACCINATED!

  • 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)

WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET COVID

DO NOT PANIC! If you are vaccinated, it is most likely that you will have no symptoms or a mild viral illness. But it is important to monitor for symptoms and contact your GP or Obstetrician if you are concerned. You will need to isolate at home under the guidelines set out by WA Health BUT this does not mean you should ignore important warning signs. NO MATTER WHAT YOUR COVID STATUS, if you think your baby's movements have decreased or you have other concerns about your pregnancy, contact myself or St John of God Hospital immediately. There will be arrangements in place to manage pregnancy issues even if you are Covid positive.

We are awaiting further guidelines from WA Health but this is a good overview from Health Direct regarding management of Covid 19 at home: here. Rest and Paracetamol are the best treatment. But you should avoid anti-inflammatories e.g. Voltaren, Neurofen, etc during pregnancy.

I have recently 'starred' in a video by the hospital providing common-sense and practical information in the event that you pick up a Covid infection during your pregnancy. Follow this link.

If you are pregnant and unvaccinated (or only partially vaccinated) when you pick up Covid, you will be offered a medication called Sotrovimab. This is a monoclonal antibody that may reduce your risk of progression to severe disease. Other 'at risk' pregnant women may also be eligible for the treatment e.g. if you immunocompromised. It needs to be given within the first 5 days of the diagnosis so it is important that you contact me as soon as possible so we can make a decision whether to go ahead with the medication.

SJOG GUIDELINES

 

St John of God, Murdoch has new guidelines for your hospital stay during this  emerging Omicron situation. These are a few of the important points:

  • Currently there are significant visitor restrictions in the hospital. Please check with the hospital for their up-to-date rules. Birth partners are welcome. It has been decided that partners do not need to be fully vaccinated BUT there will be restrictions in the hospital during the birth and they will not be allowed to board in after the birth (See below). If your partner is Covid +ve, he/she will not be allowed to enter the hospital.

  • Your birth partner must have a RAT each time before they enter the hospital. If another 'nominated visitor' is allowed, the same rule applies.

  • Unvaccinated  pregnant women will not be turned away but will need to wear increased PPE.

  • All caregivers will be wearing N95 masks and goggles during your hospital stay.

  • Guidelines (set out by WA Health) regarding Covid +ve women will change depending on the amount of community Covid and other factors. Currently, symptomatic or unwell Covid +ve patients will be redirected or transferred to a public hospital for their care. If you are Covid +ve but asymptomatic,  it is possible you will be able to attend SJOG Murdoch. This may change in the future.

  • All pregnant women will be issued with a number at RATs at 34 -36 weeks to test themselves each week and prior to their admission to hospital. Details are available here.


 

UNVACCINATED BIRTH PARTNERS

This is official information from St John of God Hospital and you should have received it as a text from the hospital if your baby is due in the next 3 months or so:

We want to make you aware of the Hospital’s policy on birth partners who are not double dose vaccinated for COVID-19. In summary, unvaccinated birth partners will need to be granted an exemption to enter the hospital.  Once granted they:

1. May attend the birth but must leave afterwards. 

2. Will be COVID tested before entry & must return a negative result.  Must wear a Hospital provided (N95) face mask throughout.

3. Will be limited to the maternity area only and may not move elsewhere in the hospital, including visiting our cafes.

3. Are not permitted to board (stay overnight). 

4. Are not permitted to visit again during your admission unless there is critical decision to be made which requires them to be present.

 

This policy aligns with the WA Health approach and is designed to offer maximum safeguards to mothers and babies in the Hospital.  

 

If your birth partner will need this exemption please contact Wendy Singleton, Deputy Director of Nursing, at wendy.singleton@sjog.org.au to apply.

LINKS TO RESOURCES

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

Gidget Foundation Mental Health Support during Covid

SJOG Murdoch video - Covid in pregnancy