It’s a worrying time for us mums. The announcements surrounding Covid-19 have shaken up the way we operate as society. Our lives are changing, and with families to protect, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the constant flow of anxiety-inducing news alerts. One thing’s for sure, we need to stick together and share some positivity wherever we can. Check in on your elderly neighbours, FaceTime your friend whose children are home from school, and support local businesses wherever you can.
But what does Covid-19 mean for pregnant women?
Although everybody in society is taking the appropriate measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, pregnant women are in one of the groups who need to take extra precautions. This is along with people aged over 70, and anybody with a weakened immune system or a long-term health condition.
Pregnancy is a joyful time for most women, however with new concerns to consider, there is an extra weight to this for pregnant women. The good news is, according to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women do not appear to be more susceptible to Covid-19, nor do they become more severely unwell than the general population. Basically, the majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms.
However, if you are pregnant you are more vulnerable to getting infections than a woman who is not pregnant. As with the common flu, your immune system is weaker due to your pregnancy. If you have an underlying condition, such as asthma or diabetes, you may be more unwell if you have coronavirus. Therefore all the necessary precautions need to be taken to protect yourself from this virus - mumma in hibernation.
The following points may help clear a few worries:
- If you are trying to conceive, or if you’re in early pregnancy, there is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage.
- There is no evidence to suggest that the virus can pass to your developing baby while you are pregnant through vertical transmission.
- There is no evidence that the virus will cause abnormalities in your baby.
- Some babies born to women with symptoms of coronavirus in China have been born prematurely (it is unclear whether coronavirus was the causative factor, or the doctors made the decision for the baby to be born early because the woman was unwell).
- Newborn babies and infants do not appear to be at increased risk of complications from the infection.
- Women who wish to breastfeed their babies should be encouraged and supported to do so, as there is no evidence that the virus is carried in breastmilk.
If you choose to breastfeed your baby, the following precautions are recommended:
- Wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles
- Try and avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding at the breast
- Consider wearing a face mask while breastfeeding, if available
- Follow recommendations for pump cleaning after each use
- Consider asking someone who is well to feed expressed breast milk to your baby
If you are pregnant, and think you may have symptoms:
Have either a high temperature, or a new, continuous cough? You should:
- Stay at home for 7 days. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
- You should contact your maternity unit looking after your pregnancy to inform them that you have suggested coronavirus symptoms, especially if you have any routine appointments in the next 7 days.
- You should contact your midwife or antenatal clinic to inform them that you are currently in self-isolation for possible/confirmed coronavirus and request advice on attending routine antenatal appointments.
- It is likely that routine antenatal appointments will be delayed until isolation ends.
Being tested for Coronavirus
The Royal College Of Gynecologists say:
- If you need a test for coronavirus, you will be advised to self-isolate and diagnostic swabs will be arranged.
- You will be tested in the same way as anyone being tested, regardless of the fact that you are pregnant.
- Pregnant women who have been advised to self-isolate should stay indoors and avoid contact with others for 14 days.
- Pregnant women who are due to attend routine maternity appointments in the UK should contact their maternity care provider, to inform them that they are currently in self-isolation for possible/confirmed COVID-19, and request advice on attendance.
What should you do to prevent Covid-19?
According to the NHS:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
- Only travel on public transport if you need to
- Work from home, if you can
- Avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
- Avoid events with large groups of people
- Use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
For everything you need to know, please visit the RCOG guidelines here. Stay safe mommas!
Mums at home
With Irish schools shut, and British schools set to shut very soon, the UK mumma’s are having to change their daily routines. With many of us now working from home, whilst having to juggle being a mum, we are presented with some challenges, but it’s important to remember to appreciate the little things. Being at home, with your family means you are safe. At times like these we have to think of those worse off than us, and do as much as we can to support them.
So, what do you do if your child is asking questions about the virus? We’ve found a brilliant video that explains how the virus spreads with a glitter experiment. It’s important that they know the nature of the virus, but we keep it lighthearted for them. Their little brains are probably thinking what on earth is happening… just as we are!
But most importantly, how do we keep our children occupied for this long period of time?
Well, with a whole lotta love!
Spend time outdoors
Go outside every day. Even in the rain. It's very important that we encourage our families to go outside and play. To get some fresh air, and take a break from life indoors. It will break up everyone's day, and when you get home you can dry off and have snack time!
Limit screen time
As much as children love iPads, limiting their screen time is important. We know they’re super quiet when they are having screen time, but we also know they shouldn't over indulge. Getting the balance is hard, there is no doubt about it! Why not try setting allotted times, therefore making it something for them to look forward to? Or you could strategically pair screen time with work time (when you need to get important tasks done). Here’s some helpful guidance from Mayo Clinic on developing some rules.
Order supplies of craft activities and books
Be creative! Doing some colouring or painting in the day can be rather therapeutic and relaxing, which is needed right now. You could make some rice crispy cakes, bake some cupcakes or even make some tissue box monsters. Yup, this is an actual activity from GoodHouseKeeping, and to be fair they look great. Children love books, so make sure you have some great ones on the shelf. Depending on how old your child is, you can read together, or help them with their reading.
You know those random questions your children ask and you just think, how did you think to ask me this?! Well, this can, believe it or not, make for some fun. Ask them to ask you anything they want, and then if you don’t know anything, look up the answers! Be prepared for the bizarre, but also for some laughter.
Throw a party
Throw a tea party, or a dance party at the weekend. Give the whole family something to look forward to. All you need is some snacks, some music and your people!
Google Lens - A free resource from Google that lets you look up what type of plant it is, by taking a picture of it. Have your kids use it outside to learn more about the plants nearby. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.ar.lens&hl=en_US&fbclid=IwAR1QSS-EbAgDItZc64jGjLB0hyKDmUGho7Em_yhM7HXfAMF2WTB1pCsvkiE
Cosmic Kids Yoga - Videos on YouTube with imaginative storytelling through body movements - there’s even a Frozen themed yoga session (you may know somebody who will be very happy with this)! If your kids are too old for this, try looking up YouTube any exercises they may enjoy. They could even do a session with you - we all know how much the kids love copying us! Try Yoga with Adriene.
If you or your children feel bored or agitated… just go outside and breathe! We’re all changing the way we live, so we will undoubtedly hit some hurdles along the way. Remember to focus on the little things, and make life as fun as possible, whilst ensuring there are boundaries like a daily routine.
We hope you and your families stay safe, and as always we’re here to support you. At times like these, community really is everything. Knowing that there are other mums and pregnant women going through the same as you can be very comforting, especially if you’re self-isolating. Don’t forget some mumma time - if you feel stressed, take some time out to read or book, listen to a funny Podcast, anything to lift your spirits too!
Love NESSA x