Keeping Safe: Your Pregnancy and Covid

Pregnancy and COVID

Coronavirus has affected us all in numerous ways, and it is understandable to be nervous about how Covid-19 may affect you and your baby’s well-being during your pregnancy. 

The most important safeguard is information. We hope to help you answer your questions by sharing this information with you. However, it is important to ask your midwife or maternity team if you have any unanswered concerns.

If you have any Covid symptoms you must alert your maternity team.

Pregnancy and your risk

Pregnant Woman

While there is no conclusive evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus, pregnant women have been included in the list of people at moderate risk.  This is as a precaution because pregnant women can sometimes be more at risk from viruses like flu.  There is no guarantee this is the case with coronavirus. Because it is a new virus however, it has been deemed safer to classify pregnant women as being ‘clinically vulnerable’.

It is thought to be possible for you to pass coronavirus to your baby before they are born but in all known cases where this has happened the baby has recovered.  According to the evidence, coronavirus does not cause miscarriages or affect the development of an unborn baby.

For more information see the NHS link  about the things that can increase your risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus.

If you are pregnant

As in any other situation, if you are pregnant, it is important you and all those around you follow all the guidelines on Covid 19:

  • wash your hands regularly.
  • stay at home as much as possible and follow all the advice on social distancing such as staying at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
  • stay away from anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus.

If you are well, you should still go to all of your pregnancy (antenatal) scans and appointments unless you are told not to.

Hospitals and clinics are making sure it is safe for pregnant women to attend.

There may be some changes to regular appointments and scans due to the ongoing pandemic:

  • some appointments with the midwife may be online, by phone or via NHS video call
  • you may be asked to wear a mask, gown, or other item of PPE while in a hospital or clinic.
  • if an appointment is cancelled, it will be rescheduled, or you will be able to rebook it.

If you are unsure if you can take your partner to your appointment, ask your midwife or maternity team. 

Call your Midwife or Maternity team if:

  • you have missed an appointment and need to book another one.
  • you have any questions about your care or appointments.
  • you do not know when your next appointment is.
  • you have symptoms of coronavirus.

Of course it is important to know that you can still get help from a GP if you need it. How to use the NHS during Coronavirus

What to do if you get symptoms of coronavirus

If you get any of these symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) it is important that you:

  1. Stay at home and self-isolate– you and anyone you live with should not leave your home or have any visitors. Anyone you've been in close contact with should also self-isolate if  them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they your support bubble

  2. Book a test– get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, should also get a test if they have symptoms. Get a test to check if you have coronavirus on GOV.UK

  3. Speak to your midwife or maternity team– they will advise you what to do. You may need to rebook some of your pregnancy appointments or have them online, by phone or as a NHS video consultation.

If you have any other symptoms, or you have any questions or anything else you are worried about, you should still get medical help as you usually would, a GP appointment or speak to your midwife or maternity team.

It is important to Call your midwife or maternity team immediately if:

  • your baby is moving less than usual
  • you cannot feel your baby moving
  • there is a change to your baby's usual pattern of movements
  • you have any bleeding from your vagina
  • you are feeling very anxious or worried
  • you have a headache that does not go away
  • you get shortness of breath when resting or lying down

Do not wait until the next day – call immediately, even if it is the middle of the night.

If you do not have a midwife or maternity team call a GP or use the NHS 111 online service.  Only call 111 if you cannot get help online. 

Call 999 if:

  • you feel very unwell or think there is something seriously wrong
  • you have severe chest pain

Labour and birth

It is really important you have a midwife with you when you give birth to keep you and your baby safe.  If you and your baby are well, you may be able to give birth at home, in a midwifery-led unit or in a birth centre. However, if you have had any complications during your pregnancy you may be advised to give birth in a unit led by a doctor (obstetrician).

There may also be some changes to what usually happens where you plan to give birth, because of coronavirus.

Speak to your midwife or maternity team for more information.

See the NHS information on signs that labour has begun.

Birth partners

New born baby

Having a birth partner is important for your safety and wellbeing during labour and birth. You will be able to have a birth partner during labour and the birth if they do not have symptoms of coronavirus. But there may be limits on how long they can stay after the birth.

If your birth partner has symptoms, they may not be able to come with you. You might want to have a backup birth partner just in case.

If you have coronavirus and go into labour

If you have symptoms of coronavirus and go into labour, you will be advised to give birth in a unit led by a doctor (obstetrician). This is so the team can look after you and your baby more closely.  You will be cared for in an area within the maternity unit that is just for women with coronavirus. The midwives and maternity team may be wearing aprons, masks, or eye protection. These are to keep you, your baby and the staff caring for you safe, and to stop the spread of infection.

Having coronavirus should not have any impact on whether you have a vaginal or caesarean birth.  Your maternity team has been advised on how to keep you and your baby safe. They will make sure you get the best care and respect your birth choices as closely as possible.

After the birth

New Born Baby

After your baby is born, you should be able to have skin-to-skin contact unless your baby is unwell and needs care in the neonatal unit.  You will also be encouraged to breastfeed. There's no evidence coronavirus can be passed on to your baby in breast milk, so the benefits of breastfeeding and the protection it offers outweigh any risks.

While enjoying this time with your newborn baby, it’s important to be aware of any signs they might be unwell.  It can be hard to know what to do especially at the moment – but trust your instincts and get medical help if you think your baby needs it.

Be Aware and React quickly to any of the signs of Early-Onset Group B Strep infection in your newborn baby quick medical attention is important.