COVID-19 and pregnancy
The novel human coronavirus (COVID-19) is a public health emergency of global proportions…but what does it mean for you, your pregnancy and your baby?…what are the NEED TO KNOWS of this situation and how do you stay as safe and well as possible during this very worrying time?
Here are some simple answers and links to reliable information for expecting families.
Protect yourself from COVID-19
Droplets from a cough can travel up to 5 meters; a sneeze up to 10. COVID primarily spreads through airborne droplet transmission. While COVID may not fly that far, there are other viruses that can…
Best way to avoid them?
- Stay inside and connect with people by phone, skype, facetime, messenger…whatever your preferred online method may be.
- Social distancing works. The further the mucous has to travel the less likely it is to land on you.
- Remember! During pregnancy your immune system is dampened to keep your baby on the inside. This means you are less able to fight off a contagious illness.
- Wash your hands. All of the time. Soap and water works better than hand sanitiser. It not only kills the virus but it washes off with the soap. Hand sanitiser will kill it and leave it on you.
- Try not to touch your face (easier said than done) – this is how a virus moves from a surface to your insides.
- COVID-19 has been detected on metal/glass/plastic surfaces for up to 9 days after contamination. Its got staying power! However, it can be killed with household bleach.
- A person who had had COVID-19 can potentially continue to shed the virus (‘viral shedding’) for up to 14 days after their immune system has adapted to it. Steer clear of known COVID-19 positive people for that little bit longer and you will be that little bit safer.
- If you have access to a flu shot, get one. It may not protect your from COVID-19 but will give at least some protection from the nasties we do know.
Face masks..have been a topic of hot debate.
The reality is:
- N95 masks (protecting against airborne particles) is in short supply. Health workers need these to work safely and care for our sick and most vulnerable loved ones. Finding one to wear to the shops is unlikely.
- Surgical masks provide some protection, however (as health workers are currently considering reusing their disposable masks) these are also in short supply. Resources need to be directed toward the health sector for the time being.
- Fabric face masks have been recently criticised as not providing adequate protection against COVID-19, and to some extent this is correct. Further, not much research has been conducted on health personnel using fabric facemasks (see one of the few here). If a COVID + someone sneezes in your face there’s a good chance you will get it, no matter which masks you wear. However, the US CDC has recently released information on how properly constructed fabric face masks (such as those found here) can slow the spread of the disease (click here to see information). Also, if you have had the misfortune to need an innocent sneeze any time in this last month you get way fewer death stares if you are wearing a mask… Anything is better than nothing, so long as it is properly cleaned and dried before use.
- None of these measures alone is likely to stop you catching COVID-19 if it comes your way. However, a combination of all of them will maximise your chances of steering clear of it (and a number of other viruses).
Want more information?
Click the links below for further resources.
- COVID-19 and pregnancy
- Coronavirus with a baby: what you need to know to prepare and respond
- Advice for breastfeeding and pregnant women on COVID-19
- What We Know and Don’t Know About Coronavirus and Pregnancy
- CDC – Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Dr Janelle McAlpine (PhD)
Photo by Andrii Vodolazhskyi, used under licence from Shutterstock.com