Can My Baby Catch COVID-19 From Me? Can People Still Visit Me in the Hospital? How About My Hubby?
Some useful information for pregnant mummies in Singapore who are uncertain about how COVID-19 may affect their pregnancy.
First thing first, before you read this, if you are pregnant and suspect you may have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing or any other respiratory conditions, please please please seek medical attention, contact a medical practitioner and call in advance of any visit. For clinics with testing capability click here.
One certainty during this COVID-19 period is that life goes on, and so does basic biology. If you’re expecting in 2020, or if you are fortunate enough to find out you are pregnant in the current months, you’re going to have a lot of questions, and likely a fair amount of anxiety. But again life goes on, and there are plenty of precautions you can take to have a safe & happy pregnancy and childbirth.
We’re a Singaporean company, so we'll focus this page towards mummies in Singapore but there will be take-aways for anyone reading this around the world.
Am I more likely to get to COVID-19 while I’m pregnant?
This virus is still very new to us humans, and we’re only just starting to understand how COVID-19 may affect the body of pregnant women. At the time of writing this article (24th April 2020) There is no official line from many of the major health organisations around the world which suggest pregnant women are more likely to catch coronavirus.
The WHO published this line on their website on the 18th April 2020;
“...at present there is no evidence that they are at higher risk of severe illness than the general population.”
However, we must consider a couple of things.
1) the virus spreads as it spreads...meaning it’s just as likely to contact a mother to be as anyone else who is practising the same social distancing and hygiene actions.
2) Your immune system. The immune system changes during pregnancy so that it doesn’t respond to your baby that is growing inside you. For that reason, your immune response is less aggressive towards viruses, therefore, making some pregnant women more susceptible to viral infections.
There are other factors which are being considered by health organizations around the world such as reductions in the size of the chest cavity and the effect on the lungs.
Research is still underway, but as a precaution, you will want to make sure that you and those around you are practising proper social distancing and proper hygiene routines.
Can COVID be passed onto my baby in the womb?
This is one of the greatest concerns for anyone. You’ll likely know from your own experience...for Mama Bear, nothing is more important than their baby.
You’re not worried about getting sick for your own worries...you don’t want your baby to suffer.
As this is still a relatively new virus, the data and instances are still being studied to come to a conclusion on this.
According to The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists;
“Emerging evidence suggests that transmission from a woman to her baby during pregnancy or birth (vertical transmission) is probable. There has been a report of two cases in which this seems likely, but reassuringly the babies were both discharged from hospital and are well. In all previously reported cases worldwide, infection was found at least 30 hours after birth.”
In a case on the 14th March, a newborn was tested minutes after birth, with the result being positive for COVID-19. The mother also tested positive for COVID-19.
However, according to the NHS, also a UK health organisation,
“There are no reports of women diagnosed with coronavirus during the third trimester of pregnancy having passed the virus to their babies while in the womb.”
Confused? Yep, it is confusing. It’s just not clear at the moment.
Can people still visit me in the hospital?
Basically no. Well, not in the numbers that you could have expected before all of this.
It varies per hospital, and you should check with your hospital beforehand. Singapore's Hospitals have very strict guidelines and they will be required to register beforehand if they are allowed at all.
At KK Hospital:
“For patients staying in A1 wards, 1 caregiver (screened as not at risk of COVID-19) is allowed.
For patients staying in other general wards, 1 visitor (screened as not at risk of COVID-19) is allowed at any one time during visiting hours 10.00am to 8.00pm.”
Mount Alvernia and Mount Elizabeth Hospitals are currently not allowing visitors. They are allowing 1 or 2 designated caregivers with only one of those being able to present at any time. Again there are strict criteria that must be met. Both hospitals are allowing caregivers for maternity inpatients and inpatients admitted for delivery.
So you’re not going to have crowds of your family & friends coming to see you and/or your little-one whilst in hospital. It could even be a blessing in disguise...you can catch up on well-deserved rest!
Can my hubby still be there during childbirth?
According to the Mount Alvernia Hospital 24-HOUR HOTLINE (+65 6347 6688), husbands/partners can be present during childbirth at their hospital.
Mount Elizabeth Novena (phone line +65 6898 6898) told us that for normal deliveries, the husbands/partners can be present. However, for c-section cesarean births, the husband/partner cannot be present. It was also highlighted that you should check with your Gynecologist first.
If you are unsure, you can call your hospital first as they will be able to answer you quickly and check with your Gynecologist to confirm what they will allow.
Do I need to worry about food?
Food supply around the world is not completely what it was. Our supermarkets are strained and grocery shopping isn’t the usual convenience that we are used to. That said, nutrition during pregnancy and after childbirth is so important for the health and development of both you and your little one.
There’s no need to panic buy, but you should plan well for your pregnancy and make sure that you have help with your grocery shopping or that you are planning in advance for online grocery shopping...next day delivery is harder with such high demand!
As you know, we’re a retailer of traditional herbs for soups and teas so we do advocate health through nutrition. Aside from our Daily Soups and Teas, you may want to plan in advance for your confinement herbs so that you have everything ready at home during your postpartum period once you discharge from the hospital.
You can order your Confinement Herbs with us now, and we will deliver now or closer to your EDD, whichever you prefer. And don’t worry, they are super easy to prepare yourself.
Coping with anxiety and stress as a pregnant woman during this COVID-19 Pandemic.
Yes, it can seem scary, especially with the pure volume of news and information that is bombarding you.
But you don’t have to live in fear. You are still going to bringing a whole new life into the world and you are going to enjoy all the ups and downs of it all...you’re in for an amazing experience whether it is your first or your third child.
We know, with hormones raging in all directions, there are going to be times when you will struggle emotionally & mentally.
Healthline.com has some useful tips on how you can address anxiety and stress.
We’d say the most important step you can take if you are having these feelings is to tell someone, even if you don’t feel like it. It can be someone in your household, a friend, family member or you can call a helpline if you need. You can click here to view a list of useful helplines where you can talk to someone. From there, you can start to think about how you can cope, whether that is taking up a hobby at home, learning something new, or even if it’s getting through that latest drama on Netflix!
Yes, it’s not the most ideal timing to be pregnant...but there really is no ideal time.
Our main takeaways;
The situation is changing every day, and we can expect to see more changes in how we react to the circumstances as well as our understanding of how it affects us during pregnancy and after childbirth.
Although hospitals have placed strict controls in place around visitation, there are exceptions but you should always call in advance and remain in close communication with your Gynae, don't be too shy to call up the clinic and ask to speak to them if you are concerned.
Most importantly, whilst the world is still getting to grips with this; practice social distancing and proper hygiene routines, and stay healthy physically, nutritionally and mentally.