Covid-19 and pregnancy
The start of this course has coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic, which is a worrying time for everyone. Please be assured that, based on existing evidence, pregnant women are no more at risk than the rest of the population of developing this viral infection (RCOG, 2020).
In general, babies of mothers who have Covid-19 do not appear to be born with the virus, and there is only one baby in China who seems to have become infected in this way. In all reported cases of newborn babies developing coronavirus at or very soon after birth, the baby was well (RCOG, 2020).
One of the key symptoms of Covid-19 infection is a high temperature, which always needs to be controlled when you are pregnant (you may also have a cough and/or find it harder to breathe). If you develop a high temperature and you are pregnant, please phone your GP or midwife immediately for advice (HSE, 2020). If you are pregnant and you know you have significant heart disease, please also contact your GP or obstetrician for personal advice.
The World Health Organization has documented some information for women around Covid-19, and there is a link below to their “Questions and Answers”. Pregnant women with Covid-19 can birth their babies vaginally, do not need a caesarean section unless there is another medical or obstetric reason, and can hold and breast-feed their babies (WHO, 2020). You also should be allowed to have a support person of your choice with you during labour (ICM, 2020).
Irish Traveller women who are pregnant and worried about Covid-19 can find an excellent podcast with information for them on the Pavee Point website (Pavee Point, 2020).
Please be sure to follow your own country’s advice on precautions you should take to avoid Covid-19 infection, such as frequent and thorough hand-washing, sneezing or coughing into a tissue (or into your raised elbow if no tissue is available), keeping 2 metres away from other people, and staying indoors except for exercise.
You may find that some of the advice we give you in this course (to go swimming, or walking with friends, etc.) is impossible to undertake at this time of worldwide caution to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but this time will pass, perhaps while you are still pregnant, and you can go back to these activities then. In the meantime, please stay safe and take care.