What to expect when you’re expecting during a Pandemic: FAQs on Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, Newborns & COVID19
Whether you’re new to the momma club, on your way there or doing this thing for the third time around, it’s unanimous that COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works for your pregnancy or birthing plans.
Being an expecting mother means that naturally, you want to keep your body as healthy as possible, even under normal circumstances. Some anxiety is to be expected and perfectly normal.
With all the research available we can try our best to understand how to keep unborn and newborn babies safe during development and delivery, which is good news!
All women have the right to high-quality medical care before, during and after childbirth.
Tip: try and incorporate these three practices into your life to ease your anxiety!
What you should be asking
We’re sure you’ve scoured the internet for information already BUT if not, here is why your research is important: pregnant mothers are more susceptible to infections and viruses and the same applies to newborns.
What about Antenatal Care?
Antenatal care is the medical supervision of your pregnancy at regular intervals to ensure that both the mother and child are safe until delivery, and it’s probably going to look very different for some people this year!
Expecting mothers may be concerned about the development of their child should you contract the coronavirus. Fortunately, there has been little evidence of any developmental issues amongst babies born to corona positive mothers. What there have been instances of, however, are premature births. These premature births have not been directly linked to the virus and could have been caused by external factors.
We believe that everybody deserves to have excellent, safe healthcare and this extends especially to our moms to be. With Oneplan we offer you high-quality care with a doctor you know and trust, alleviating some of the stress of delivering your new person into the world. We also include a range of maternity benefits in our comprehensive health insurance plans. Not to mention, we front you with cash before you see your doctor of choice.
Corona Positive and Pregnant
Pregnant women still have all the basic rights of childbirth, regardless of whether you have the coronavirus or not. According to the WHO, woman giving birth whilst COVID-19 positive still have the right to:
● Respect and dignity
● A companion of choice
● Clear communication by maternity staff
● Pain relief strategies
● Mobility in labour and birth position of choice
Will my baby contract COVID-19 from me?
Pregnant women often run the risk of having a lower immune system, making them more vulnerable to contracting a virus, such as COVID-19. There is limited research into whether or not the virus is transferred via birthing but there is positive research that indicates the virus is not likely to pass from mother to child, even in the event of a positive mother. Recognised health institutions are keeping up to date with new information and protocols - you can check out any new data from the World Health Organization here.
There are many viruses that we have to be aware of when it comes to pregnancy: HIV/AIDs, HPV or HSV, even the common cold. As per the protocols for other viruses, your gynaecologist and doctor should keep you informed and under surveillance for a safe delivery for mom and baby.
What happens on D-Day?
Coronavirus or no Coronavirus: things change and we make a plan. If you had a specific plan in mind for your day of delivery, you may have to start thinking of what adjustments you are going to make.
The biggest change will be the limitations on how many people can come into the delivery room: this means that if you have chosen to use a doula or a childbirth assistant, your partner will not be able to be in the room. The good news is that in most South African hospitals the “one birth partner” rule applies whether you have booked a private ward or whether you are in a general ward.
Side Note: if you decide to be in the delivery room to support your partner, you cannot leave! No celebratory cigar breaks or weak stomach moments. To reduce the risk of infection, all parties must stay in the delivery room for the entire show.
If you are having fears about being separated from your newborn, don’t worry. You also have the right to close, skin to skin contact with your child after delivery that will be
Newborns and Corona.
Can I breastfeed whilst positive for COVID-19?
We say this with cautious confidence but: yes! If you happen to be feeling strong and healthy whilst you have a positive corona status, there is no evidence that proves that the virus travels through breastmilk. If you are choosing to breastfeed the drill is standard: wash your hands thoroughly, keep your distance, wear a mask and disinfect surfaces regularly.
Here’s a cool blog from us to you about the ins and outs of breastfeeding in the first week of having your baby!
Breast Milk is filled with antibodies and nutrients that are going to act as the best defence for your baby's immune system - so if you have the option we suggest you go for it. If you are sick and weak, there is no reason for your breastmilk to go to waste. You have the option to express your milk (squeezing the milk out of the breast and storing it for later use), relactation (going a period without breastfeeding and starting again when the body is ready) or the option of using human donated breast milk (which is pretty cool if you ask us!).
How do I keep my baby (and myself) well?
It’s as simple as this: your baby, your rules. Whilst social distancing is still being advised, with a new baby in the house you are perfectly entitled to strictly limit who comes into your home to visit and what contact they are allowed with your child.
Children are more resilient than we give them credit for and whilst we must try our best to keep them protected and healthy, giving them the option to explore and build antibodies is equally important. Keep surfaces clean and hands washed and don’t panic if they put a bug in their mouths from time to time.
Keeping your own immune system up is a sure way to ensure you have the vitality to look after your little one. Read up on how to build up your immune system against COVID-19 here.
To end off, we must emphasise the importance of checking in on your own mental health after childbirth. Postpartum depression or anxiety is a hugely common and relevant issue to deal with after delivery and we advise having the details of a registered psychologist or counsellor onhand should the state of things become overwhelming. From us to you, we wish you all the best on your journey to parenthood - we look forward to keeping you safe and secure through it all.
Yours in quality health insurance,