If you are pregnant and in self-isolation, you might be feeling anxious about how to keep you and your baby safe during this unprecedented time. At the moment, there is no evidence to show that pregnant women will be more severely unwell than the general population if they develop coronavirus. It is expected that most pregnant women will experience mild or moderate cold or flu-like symptoms.
Pregnant woman have been placed in the ‘vulnerable group’ by the chief medical officer. This is not because there is any evidence to suggest that they are more likely to contract the infection. However, we have known for years that for a small proportion of women, pregnancy can alter how severe viral infections are handled by the body. Therefore, placing pregnant women in this category and advising them to take extra measures is precautionary only.
We sat down with our Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Mr Maiti to compile recommended measures to reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus whilst pregnant and keep you physically and mentally healthy during this uncertain period:
How to protect yourself
- “Work from home – As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the UK, the Government has now instructed most people to stay at home, this is especially important for women who are pregnant, as they are considered slightly higher risk during their last 3 months of pregnancy.
“If you are pregnant you must ensure you work from home, avoid public transport and only leave the house if it is absolutely necessary. This is to limit your contact with others, who may carry the virus, especially those who are not showing symptoms.
“Please do check with your midwife that your antenatal appointments are taking place as normal. If they are, it is crucial you attend your appointments as normal. If you are self-isolating due to symptoms or because someone in your home has symptoms, you must contact your midwife for advice or to reschedule.
- “Avoid social gatherings – You will want to visit friends and family for support, but pregnant women must avoid social gatherings of any description at this time, which means completely limiting close physical interaction with even the closest of family members. Maintain a distance of 2m (6 feet) at all times.
- “Ask your friends and family for help – Ask your family and friends to deliver shopping from the supermarket and run errands for you. Ensure they are wearing gloves when purchasing groceries and advise them to leave shopping outside your door.
- “Hygienic home routine – It is important to ensure you are following a hygienic routine at home, which includes regularly washing your hands and disposing of any used tissues right away. It is also advisable to use your own towels, crockery and utensils, and I would definitely recommend eating at a different time from those you live with, to limit any contact or germs spreading across the dining room table.
How to keep these habits up
- “Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness activities are a great way to relax and easy to practice whilst pregnant and at home. You could try meditation, particularly mindful meditation, which is a great way to maintain a healthy and positive mindset. For example: Headspace app, Calm app or Cosmic Yoga YouTube videos (for kids).
- “Learn a new hobby – It’s a testing time for pregnant women, who will want nothing more than to spend time with loved ones, so try a new hobby or learn how to cook a new dish. It’s key you spend time doing things you enjoy, to keep your brain occupied and at ease, but remember to completely limit physical contact with those within your home.
- “Use technology – To keep in touch with friends and family, use apps such as Zoom or Houseparty which allow you to video call multiple people at once. It is important whilst you are at home, not to completely socially isolate yourself, as you will need support to get you through the difficult days of pregnancy.
Eating & drinking while pregnant
- “Stay hydrated – With any pregnancy, it is key to remain healthy and ensure your baby is getting the nutrients they require, so drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fruit and veg.
- “Avoid junk food – We all know it’s far too convenient to snack when we’re in the comfort of our own home, but it is key to ensure you are not binging on fatty and sugary foods. Not only is higher sugar consumption linked to increased weight gain during pregnancy, if not controlled, too much sugar can lead to more serious health conditions such as such as Type 2 Diabetes.
- “Stick to a routine – This is a general rule of thumb for anyone who is at home for a long period of time, not just those who are pregnant. Stick to your routine and daily eating patterns – eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as you do normally and try to avoid deviating and snacking.”
COVID-19 is an extremely challenging time for everyone, not just for those who are pregnant, so following advice from medical experts is key to ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Following Dr Maiti’s advice will enable you to best protect you and your baby, however it is still key to remain in touch with your midwife throughout this period.
As with those who are not pregnant, women will experience only mild or moderate cold / flu like symptoms whilst pregnant, unless they have any underlying or pre-existing medical conditions.
If you are feeling anxious and wish to speak with a GP, we are now offering private GP telephone and video appointments. Call 03300 58 44 55 to book.