Pregnancy is a special time full of excitement and anticipation. But for many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has clouded this time with fear, anxiety and uncertainty.
Here is the latest information on pregnancy, COVID-19 and vaccines, as well as expert tips on how to have a safe pregnancy during the pandemic.
I’m pregnant. Am I at higher risk from COVID-19?
Pregnant women do not seem to be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. However, you are at higher risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19 while pregnant. You are also at higher risk of delivering your baby prematurely if you get COVID-19.
That’s why it’s important you – and people around you – take precautions to protect against COVID-19. Seek medical care early if you experience symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
What should I do to protect myself from COVID-19 while pregnant?
Pregnant women should take the same precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as other people. To help protect yourself and people around you:
- Consider vaccination in consultation with your healthcare provider.
- Wear a mask where physical distancing from others is not possible.
- Keep a physical distance from others and avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces.
- Open windows to improve ventilation indoors.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
If you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant?
Yes, you can get vaccinated if you are pregnant. Although the overall risk of severe illness from COVID-19 remains low, pregnancy puts you at higher risk of severe illness compared to people who are not pregnant.
While there is less data available on vaccination of pregnant people, evidence on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy has been growing, and no safety concerns have been identified. For more information about receiving a COVID-19 vaccination while pregnant, speak to your healthcare provider.
Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m breastfeeding?
Yes, if you are breastfeeding you should take the vaccine as soon as it is available to you. It is very safe and there is no risk to the mother or baby. None of the current COVID-19 vaccines have live virus in them, so there is no risk of you transmitting COVID-19 to your baby through your breastmilk from the vaccine. In fact, the antibodies that you have after vaccination may go through the breast milk and help protect your baby.
What questions should I be asking my healthcare provider?
It is important to establish a trusting relationship with your healthcare provider.
Creating a system of how and when to communicate with your healthcare provider. For example, organize a routine around appointments, and how to get in touch for urgent care. It may also be helpful to talk to care providers in advance about obtaining a copy of your health records including record of prenatal care, in case of any disruption or change in services.
When it comes to your plan for giving birth, it is important to ask as many questions as you need.
- Am I at risk of COVID-19 in this space? Has someone else been here with the COVID-19?
- How do you separate people with COVID-19 from people who have not?
- Is there enough protective clothing for the healthcare professionals?
- Am I allowed to take someone with me? If not, why not?
- Am I allowed to keep my baby with me? If not, why not?
- Am I able to breastfeed my baby? If not, why not?
Once I have given birth, what can I do to protect my newborn from the COVID-19 virus?
The level of risk involved depends on where you live. As a starting point, check for any relevance guidance from your local authorities. You should take more precautions in areas with higher rates of COVID-19 transmission and lower levels of vaccinations.
If the risk is higher where you live, then consider sticking to just your family and not asking for visitors right now.
Although it’s a difficult time, try to see the positive side of having this time to bond as a family. Without the influx of visitors, you can focus better on spending time with your new baby.
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Original links to the article: – https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/navigating-pregnancy-during-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-pandemic