Have you found yourself pregnant in a pandemic? Being pregnant can be a wonderful but anxiety-provoking event at the best of times. Bambino Club (antenatal classes made by midwives) understand the pandemic has been a particularly challenging time for all our parents to be. There is a lot of conflicting and confusing information for pregnant women at the moment and so Bambino Club has put together the most asked questions by pregnant women in the pandemic to keep your worries at bay.
Please note that this article has been written by Bambino Club in line with current guidelines issued by public health England and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Please be aware, that this guidance is changing rapidly.
Firstly, the vaccine. I am pregnant, can I have the vaccine?
There is currently no evidence the Covid-19 vaccine is unsafe if you are pregnant. But unfortunately, more evidence is needed before you can routinely be offered it. Therefore the vaccine, for most pregnant women, is not an option.
However, some women may be offered the vaccine if they are at high risk of getting coronavirus because of where they work or if they have a health condition that means they are at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus. Speak to your healthcare provider, if you believe either of these applies to you.
I am breastfeeding, can I have the vaccine?
Great news! You can have the Covid-19 vaccine if you are breastfeeding. Speak to your healthcare provider for full risks and benefits.
Can I still attend antenatal classes?
Yes! It is not safe to attend a face to face antenatal classes just yet – but midwife-led organisations such as Bambino Club are conducting group virtual classes which are still sociable, informative and interactive! Antenatal classes are vital for preparing you and your birth partner for all things pregnancy, birth and beyond! And for giving you the opportunity to create invaluable friendships and support.
How can I keep my sanity whilst pregnant in a pandemic?
Bambino Club recognises how hard it is being pregnant during this time but there are ways to ensure you are looking after yourself and your mental health. Be kind to yourself. Self-care, whether that’s having baths, relaxing, reading, watching your favourite tv shows, favourite foods, taking naps.
Going to antenatal classes will allow you to meet other parents to be in your local area. The friendships that you form and the support you will gain from those going on the pregnancy journey with you will be just as valuable as everything you learn in the classes.
What precautions should I take when pregnant in the pandemic?
If you’re pregnant, it is important you:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Stay at home as much as possible and follow advice on social distancing
- Stay away from anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus
- Attend all antenatal appointments and ultrasound scans as planned. Ensure you wear a mask and wash your hands regularly and once you leave the hospital.
What happens if I get coronavirus whilst pregnant?
There is no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus, but pregnant women have been included in the list of people at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) as a precaution.
It may be possible for you to pass coronavirus to your baby before they are born. But research has shown that when this has happened, the babies have recovered too. There’s no evidence coronavirus causes miscarriage or affects how your baby develops in pregnancy.
What do I do if I have Covid symptoms whilst pregnant?
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you believe you or a member of your household have symptoms of coronavirus.
How can I keep active whilst pregnant in a pandemic?
There are plenty of ways to keep active. You can go outside for a walk or a run. Or if the weather is not looking good – the internet is your friend. Pregnancy specific yoga and pilates are great ways to exercise during pregnancy. You can find plenty of pregnancy-specific exercise on youtube but do ensure you search for ‘antenatal’ or ‘pregnancy’ to ensure the exercise is tailored to pregnant women and therefore keeps you safe. Alternatively, you could consider an online live class for pregnancy yoga or pilates. This can also be a great way to meet other mums to be, especially if you choose one in your local area.
I have a concern in my pregnancy, but I don’t want to risk going into hospital. What should I do?
If you have any concerns in pregnancy, for example, if you feel reduced fetal movements, you should always contact your healthcare provider straight away. Please do not stay at home if you are worried, it is much safer to seek advice.
Can I have someone with me in labour?
Yes! You should be encouraged to have at least one well birth partner present with you during labour and birth. Your birth partner(s) must wear a mask in hospital.
Having at least one trusted birth partner present throughout labour is known to make a significant difference to the safety and wellbeing of women in childbirth, which is why Bambino Club ensures birth partners/partners feel an important role in their antenatal classes.
If a birth partner has symptoms of coronavirus, has recently tested positive for coronavirus or is required to self-isolate for other reasons (e.g. recent contact of an infected person), they should follow government advice and self-isolate at home, to safeguard the health of you, other women and babies and the maternity staff supporting you.
Can I use the birthing pool in a pandemic?
The majority of maternity units in the UK are following the guidance published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG, 2020) stating that the birthing pool is still an option for all women in labour, unless you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus.
Have my pain relief options changed as a result of the pandemic?
No, the pandemic should not affect the pain relief options available to you in labour and birth.
Can I have someone with me at antenatal appointments and scans?
Bambino Club recognises the importance of having someone with you at your pregnancy appointments and scans and the anxiety that can arise by going on your own. Unfortunately, however, the majority of hospitals still have restrictions on the number of visitors allowed at each appointment and scan, therefore this will vary depending on the hospital you are booked to have your baby at.
Make sure to ask your healthcare provider for your local visitor’s policy but be reassured that midwives fully appreciate this is a challenging time and will do their best to keep you safe and reassured.
What PPE will the midwives and doctors be wearing?
All healthcare professionals will be using a variety of PPE (personal protective equipment), this will vary depending on the circumstances but will generally include gloves, apron and face covering. Remember – you’ve just got to assume we are smiling at you under all the gear!
Will I still get postnatal visits at home from the midwife?
Yes! Rest assured the midwife will still visit you at home and/or in your local community clinic to check you and your baby/babies are all happy and well, they will just be wearing extra PPE to keep you, your family and themselves safe.
I am pregnant and need help with day to day things:
Contact NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 196 3646.
You can find more information of pregnancy and coronavirus via the RCOG website.
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