While being pregnant in a time of COVID-19 can be worrying, knowing the real risks and understanding how you can keep yourself safe can go a long way in keeping the stress at bay.
Parents-to-be, here’s how you can have a safe and less stressful pregnancy in the midst of all that’s happening!
Understanding the risks
The worry is two-fold: getting seriously sick with COVID-19 and then passing it on to your unborn baby.
Firstly, healthy pregnant women do not seem more susceptible to becoming severely ill with COVID-19 than the rest of the general population – according to a study published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK.
This may allay some of your fears but the next question is, what about the risks to your baby?
While there have been reports of a few cases of mother-to-child transmission, prevailing data shows that this remains unlikely for most pregnant mums.
“So if you are expecting but you are young and in good health, with no pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung issues or a compromised immunity – then you shouldn’t be too worried but do assess and exercise extra caution for the health of the mother,” explains Dr Ann Tan, Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and Families for Life Council Member.
Good health is the key
It is therefore more important than ever for expectant mums to keep themselves in good health during this pandemic.
Doing so is not difficult, Dr Tan says. “A lot of it is already what pregnant women are encouraged to do, such as eating more nutritious and fresh food, and drinking plenty of water. Gentle exercises from home like antenatal Pilates are also recommended to keep mum’s immunity and spirits up.”
Stay home, stay safe!
As for what expectant mums should do to reduce their chances of catching COVID-19, the recommendation is similar to the guidelines for the general population. “This includes practising safe distancing measures such as staying home as far as possible and avoiding crowds, and upholding high standards of hygiene by washing their hands frequently,” advises Dr Tan.
However, for women in their third trimester or with pre-existing conditions or complications, Dr Tan urges extra care in practising safe distancing and minimising contact with others.
Stay positive with family support
Her best tip for making it safely through COVID-19 with as much positivity as possible? Keeping the family unit tighter than ever, so that mum-to-be knows she is not alone.
“Husbands, you can do your part by encouraging and supporting your partners in big ways and small, such as by going on walks with her. Mummies-to-be, do stay connected with your family and friends during this period via text chats, phone or video calls.”
If you’re expecting during this season, do visit the Families for Life Facebook page! There, you can watch #AskFFL videos and participate in FB Live sessions, where you can ask healthcare professionals and experts your questions related to parenthood, caring for your newborn and pregnancy.