Expecting during the pandemic? Got questions about how Coronavirus might affect you when giving birth? Read on...
We get it: being pregnant during Covid-19 in Singapore can be an anxious time. Pregnancy is supposed to be a fun (once you’re past the morning sickness, that is), magical and beautiful time you’re meant to treasure for the rest of your life, right? Even though things are looking a lot better in Singapore with Phase 3 reopening, we still don’t need extra worry to add to our pregnancy plate. With this in mind, we’ve scoured the WHO, MOH, NHS and CDC websites to get the answers to all the questions you might have, so it’s all in one place to save you the research and stress!
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING PREGNANT DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
1. Am I more susceptible to Covid-19 now that I’m pregnant?
When you are pregnant, you should take more precautions to protect yourself against Covid-19 in Singapore. At present, there is no evidence that pregnant women are at higher risk than the general population of catching Covid-19. Still, there is evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at an increased risk of serious illness from Covid-19, or adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth. All the more reason to keep safe!
2. I’m pregnant – how do I keep myself and my baby safe from Covid-19 in Singapore?
It doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant or not – during this whole Covid-19 pandemic in Singapore; you need to practise good hygiene and handwashing techniques and use anti-bacterial soap and hand sanitiser as much as you can. Avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus by staying at home. You should also try to keep frequently touched surfaces clean and disinfected regularly.
3. Can I pass Covid-19 on to my baby?
There is evidence to suggest that Covid-19 infection can pass from mum to baby during pregnancy, although these cases are rare. In the examples that have been observed, babies diagnosed with Covid-19 had mild symptoms and recovered quickly. Although there are always exceptions, hopefully, this helps put your mind at ease that these instances are rare.
And in much more positive news, there’s also evidence that mums can pass on Covid-19 antibodies to their littlies. This case actually occurred for the first time in Singapore, where a mum who was infected with Covid-19 back in March 2020 gave birth to a wee one with Covid-19 antibodies in November 2020! Aren’t humans amazing?!
4. What about through breastfeeding?
In studies to date, Covid-19 has not been detected in breastmilk, and there is no evidence so far that the virus can be transmitted through breastfeeding. At the min, it’s clear that the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the risks when it comes to Covid-19. That said, all the good personal hygiene rules apply with breastfeeding, so wash your hands before going in for snuggles!
5. Are there any newborns who have tested positive for Covid-19?
There are a small number of cases where newborns have tested positive for Covid-19. It’s unknown whether it is contracted before, during, or after birth. Regardless, the WHO says mothers should be supported to hold their newborn skin-to-skin and share a room with their baby. Through close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding, the WHO believes that these could help a baby thrive.
6. Can my partner still be present during birth?
Some hospitals in Singapore, like Mount Elizabeth and KKH, will allow TWO designated caregiver at any time per day for maternity inpatients. In addition, eight pre-designated visitors are allowed. There can be no change in the nominated visitors throughout the patient’s stay. Visitors must register and follow strict rules such as social distancing, infection prevention and control measures. To confirm, double-check with your doctor and hospital for the latest information.
7. Can I get a Covid-19 vaccine whilst pregnant?
Advice varies from country to country on this. At the moment, Singapore is advising women who are pregnant or who become pregnant before their second vaccination dose to avoid getting the vaccine for the time being. However, keep up to date because this could change as the data and research on vaccines evolves.
8. Can I get a Covid-19 vaccine when I’m breastfeeding?
For breastfeeding mums, it is recommended to get the vaccine but to refrain from breastfeeding for 5-7 days post-vaccine. However, the advice does go on to say that if a mum feels she is unable to stop breastfeeding and still wishes to get vaccinated, she can. So it’s a personal choice. Options such as expressing pre and post-vaccine exist and utilising facilities such as KK Human Milk Bank if you face supply issues. Check out this guide for more info on options available.
We know it isn’t the easiest task, but you should prioritise positive thinking and take it easy. Focus on all the good things that are happening right now – you’ve come this far, and you’ve got what it takes to get through this. You’ve got this pregnancy and birth in the bag!