Having COVID-19 can be a worrying time, especially if you are pregnant or have a new baby. It is important that you are prepared to isolate at home if you or someone in your house tests positive for Covid 19. See detail information about preparation here.
Does COVID-19 affect my pregnancy?
Being pregnant increases your chances of becoming more unwell with COVID 19 than if you were not pregnant. You are also more at risk of having a pregnancy complication such as a blood clot or high blood pressure. Data from overseas tells us that you are less likely to become severely unwell with COVID-19 while pregnant if you have received all of the recommended vaccinations
You may be advised to have a blood thinner injection each day to reduce your risk of developing a blood clot. Keeping active and hydrated, even if you are isolating, is important to reduce the risk of blood clots in pregnancy.
If you required care in hospital because of COVID-19 it may be recommended that you have an additional scan when you are well. Your LMC can provide a form for you.
What if I go into labour when I am Covid positive?
If you give birth while you have COVID-19 you will still receive all the maternity care that you need. You may still be able to have your baby in a birthing centre, you should discuss this with your midwife. At Waikato Hospital Delivery Suite we are ready with a safe birthing room to care for you and your baby. It is still likely that you will have a normal birth but if you need any extra help like an epidural or a caesarean section this will also be provided.
Once your labour starts contact your midwife as you usually would. When your labour is established your midwife will call the hospital or birthing centre to arrange for you to come in
The staff caring for you will be wearing PPE and your support person will also be asked to wear a mask at all times. Both you and your support person are required to stay in the birth room at all times so that infection risk is kept to a minimum.
In some cases it may be recommended to you that your baby’s heart rate be monitored continuously while you are in labour and advised that you have a drip inserted. All pain relief options are still available to you.
Will my baby get COVID 19?
There is a very small risk that your baby will get COVID-19 from you while you are pregnant or giving birth. It is more likely that you will pass COVID-19 onto your baby after birth. At present newborn babies who get COVID-19 are not unwell. It is recommended that you maintain good hand hygiene and wear a mask when caring for your baby. If you are concerned about the health of your baby contact your midwife for advice.
Can I still breastfeed my baby?
Close contact and exclusive breastfeeding helps a baby to thrive. We recommend that you breastfeed your baby as this can pass on some immunity to your baby.
Who will check up on me?
You may be contacted by your GP or their team to monitor your health during your isolation. Your Midwife will inform the doctors at the hospital who may also contact you.
Generally during the time you’re isolating with COVID-19 your midwife will delay any routine appointments, urgent care will still be provided. Please continue to contact your midwife as you usually would.
Some women may be asked to measure their oxygen saturations with a small device called a pulse oximeter.
What symptoms should I look out for?
This checklist will help to monitor for important changes to your and your baby’s health when you have COVID-19. These changes may be early symptoms for preeclampsia or blood clot. The checklist will help your LMC or healthcare team decide if hospital assessment is needed.
◻ Headache or visual disturbances
◻ Swelling in your hands feet or face
◻ Tummy pains or contractions
◻ Vaginal bleeding or mucous discharge
◻ Leg swelling or pain
◻ Changes in your babies movements
◻ Pain when breathing or breathing feels like hard work
If you have been provided with a pulse oximeter or a blood pressure monitor also measure these. Oxygen and heart rate 3 times each day and blood pressure once each week – or as advised by your midwife
◻ Heart rate is 110 or higher
◻ Oxygen level is 94% or lower
◻ Blood pressure is more than 140/90
If you have ticked yes to any of the above checklist call your midwife immediately
If you are having difficulty breathing or chest pain call 111, ask for an ambulance and tell them you have COVID-19 and are pregnant.