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PREGNANCY, BABIES & THE CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

If you’re currently expecting, close to your due date or just had a newborn, the COVID-19 outbreak is probably causing you more sleepless nights than your little one is. In a time of global confusion, your number one goal is to keep yourself and your child(ren) safe, but with so much information out there, what’s to believe and what’s mere hearsay?

Leading pregnancy and parenting brand, What to Expect answers some of these burning questions, offering daily practical advice on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, what to do in an emergency and how the coronavirus pandemic may affect your birth plans. Want to know more? Read on!

I’m due to give birth soon and worried about being in hospital

According to WTE, “Every hospital and birthing center is different, but some are taking new measures to protect patients and staff.” But note that the virus outbreak will most likely affect a few things. For instance, if you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, your doctor and nursing staff will be wearing protective gear, and if you have no complications and you and baby are healthy, your provider may give you the option of leaving sooner than you would have in the past.

Should I still go for my prenatal appointments?

The government and public health officials are recommending that everyone – including you – try to stay home as much as possible, but how do you ensure everything is okay with your baby? WTE advises that as anxiety-inducing as it might be, it’s safer (for now) for both you and your growing baby to practice social distancing – at least six feet away from others – and still observe good hygiene, doing your best not to touch your face.

If you still have concerns, talk to your health provider who should be able to advise you on the best steps to take.

Can I still have a baby shower?

WTE generally advises against hosting or attending a baby shower, unfortunately. “Many mums-to-be are now planning virtual baby showers in lieu of in-person gatherings. Yes, that basically means everyone meets up over their computers or smartphones. While it may be logistically different, the intent is the same: to celebrate you and babe.” Find out more about how to plan one.

I just had a baby. Can my friends and family come and visit?

Although social gatherings of more than 10 people should be avoided, you might not be comfortable with banishing your loved ones from your home, especially at a time when you need support more than ever. Instead, “first make sure to ask them if they are or have been sick recently. If they have any signs and symptoms of any illness, ask them to postpone their visit.” It’s also recommended that before and during their visit, you gently ask them to wash their hands with soap and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser, most certainly if they’ll be coming into contact with baby.

UNSPLASH

How do I protect my newborn whenever we’re out in public?

Staying home as much as possible is advisable but we all need a break from time to time, so avoiding close contact with people who are sick, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects, toys, etc. and staying informed about the local COVID-19 situation are some of the best ways to stay safe.

If I get Coronavirus, how will it affect my unborn child?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. But can you still breastfeed? “Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers,” says WTE. “A mother with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast.”

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