Expecting during a worldwide pandemic can be an overwhelming and stressful experience, especially if you do not know what to expect. During the COVID-19 pandemic all hospitals are trying to limit the number of individuals attending appointments since it helps to restrict spreading of the virus plus it takes some of the pressure off healthcare services. Unfortunately, this include maternity services.
Moms who are pregnant during pandemic madness, will have to make some changes to their early pregnancy care. It is normal to have feelings of anxiety, but its worth keeping calm and know that you will still receive essential healthcare services when the need arises. You will be able to make an appointment when it becomes necessary. If you have any symptoms that are a cause for worry, do not hesitate to contact your doctor or closest hospital immediately, particularly if these symptoms include bleeding and / or stomach pain.
Here is some useful information about anything related to pregnancy in the midst of a pandemic.
What happens if you have concerns during the early stages of your pregnancy?
It is essential to contact your midwife or GP immediately if you have any apprehensions during your pregnancy. Symptoms such as bleeding, pelvic pain, and cramping during early pregnancy are often red flags linked to miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. It is vital that they should not be ignored. You can phone your GP or hospital to make an appointment to have these symptoms investigated and to ensure you are receiving the safest care. If you are feeling unwell or are bleeding heavily, you must go straight to your closest emergency care facility immediately.
There are clinics ran by gynaecology doctors and nurses for women who are pregnant during pandemic situations for less than twelve weeks. Not all women are the same or experience the same pregnancy symptoms. Some of them will not require care during the early stages of pregnancy. However, if you have anxiety during the early stages of your pregnancy, it is worth visiting a nurse or doctor to discuss your symptoms with them and have it checked out. Hospitals and clinics continue to offer pregnancy care during the pandemic. However, wherever possible, care will be provided over the phone. This assists with limiting travel and consultations to support social distancing and prevent spreading the virus to pregnant women.
What happens if you already have an existing appointment at your hospital or GP?
If you already have a scheduled appointment at the hospital or doctor’s office, someone will contact you and advise you whether you should attend or not. The appointment may happen over the phone. Do not miss your appointments without speaking to your doctor’s office or hospital first.
What happens if you suspect you have corona and are self-isolating?
If you are isolating yourself as a result of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 virus, your scheduled appointment might be conducted over the phone or postponed. Someone from the doctor’s office will phone you. If they do not, phone them to discuss your options.
- Discuss your requirements with them to help them decide whether advice and care relating to your pregnancy can be given over the phone or if it is necessary for you to go to the clinic or hospital.
- Tell them about any symptoms that anyone in your household are having or have had and if you are at risk of contracting the virus.
Your scheduled appointments may be affected
Contingent on the strictness of your country’s limitations and where you stay, going for check-ups or scans may involve a different process than initially planned. In some countries, your partner is not allowed to accompany you to these appointments for safety purposes. Be sure to ask in advance, so that you know what to do.
Will your baby be okay?
The world as we know it is a scary place right now and people all over the world are affected by the pandemic. As far as COVID-19 goes, there is little risk of fatalities in babies and toddlers. Unless your baby is born with some underlying health issue, he should be safe.
What if it is necessary for me to attend a scheduled appointment at the GP or hospital?
If an urgent in-person visit is necessary, be sure to travel by means of private transport whenever possible. You may be required to attend the appointment on your own for safety reasons. No children are permitted to visit hospitals during these difficult times.
Can you reschedule your appointment with the hospital or GP’s office?
If you wish to reschedule your appointment with the hospital or GP’s office, call them to book a new appointment. They will:
- Discuss your requirements and will either assist you over the phone or let you know if it is necessary to visit the clinic or hospital.
- Ask you about any symptoms that you or anyone else in your home might be having and if a risk of being infected with coronavirus is present.
What about ultrasound scans?
In some instances, if you are pregnant during pandemic scenarios, an ultrasound scan is part of your pregnancy care. However, it is contingent on your present symptoms and individual history. They might request that you attend on your own to protect their staff members, your household, and other patients.
What should you do if you suspect you are having a miscarriage?
If you experience any symptoms linked to miscarriage, like stomach pain or vaginal bleeding, contact your closest hospital or clinic immediately. Keep in mind that these symptoms are not always a sign of having a miscarriage, but they must be investigated, for safety sake.
What are ectopic pregnancies?
The problem with ectopic pregnancies, is that you will not always have symptoms. If you are experiencing any symptoms, they typically develop during the fourth and twelfth week of pregnancy. They could include:
- Pain in your lower abdomen, either on one side or both sides.
- Discomfort when you are using the bathroom (number one and two).
- Paint inside the tip of your shoulder.
- Brown watery discharge or vaginal bleeding.
An ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening to the mother; therefore, you must seek emergency healthcare immediately. Do not postpone contacting your local hospital or GP’s office the moment you are experiencing any symptoms that are a cause for worry. They will see and assess you immediately.
What happens if you have a miscarriage?
Once you miscarry during early stages of pregnancy, the pregnancy might come away from your womb and you will not require treatment. This is referred to as complete miscarriage. However, if the miscarriage did not come away fully (incomplete miscarriage), you will typically have three options:
- Expectant management – this means you will have to wait to see if the miscarriage happens naturally without intervention. You are not expected to be at a hospital.
- Medical management – you will be given medicine to assist your pregnancy to get away from the womb.
- Surgical management – you will be having surgery. A suction device will be used to remove the pregnancy.
During a pandemic, surgical management is not the first option. Expectant or medical management as an outpatient will be suggested first. However, if you are experiencing continuous and heavy bleeding or any signs of infection is present, you will have surgery immediately.
Symptoms of vomiting and nausea
Morning sickness that involves extreme nausea and vomiting is a common symptom of 1st trimester pregnancies. However, if you are sick throughout the day and are struggling to keep any fluids down, you might require care. You may first be assisted over the phone. If your symptoms are worrisome, you will be provided with outpatient care, including therapy (delivering fluids directly to your vein) and meds if needed. If you develop any of the following symptoms, contact your GP immediately:
- Dark urine
- Abdominal pain
- A fever
It could be an indication of a urinary tract infection that must be treated right away. Morning sickness, even though unpleasant, can be a blessing during a pandemic since it is easier to handle when you do not have to travel anywhere. If your morning sickness is exceptionally extreme, it could be a sign of hyperemesis gravidarum that often necessitates hospital treatment. Contact your GP if you have any apprehensions.
Each pregnancy experience is different
It can be difficult when you are expecting during lockdown because being pregnant is such a personal experience for every woman. Practice self-care and face every day as it arrives. Keep track of pregnancy symptoms and your baby’s development. This way you will better understand the changes your body is going through.
Consider having a virtual baby shower
Among the most challenges things about a pandemic is being secluded and away from family and friends. Pregnancy is something you want to share with those that are the closest to you. Social events like baby showers are often not possible, but thankfully modern technology can offer the perfect solution. You can schedule a virtual video experience and you can set up a baby registry at an online store.
Be prepared and get everything that you will need
If you are expecting and want to prepare your home for baby’s arrival well in advance, you can minimise your contact with others by ordering online. Make sure you have your maternity bag packed and ready for when the time arrives to leave for the hospital. Most baby essentials can be ordered online. Just make sure you check the delivery times so that your products and baby necessities arrive in time.
Reaching out during this difficult time
Being a new mom can feel isolated and lonely, especially during lockdown when you are cut of from the rest of the outside world. You do not have your usual support network to lean on. But there are numerous online support communities for parents that are struggling with the exact same issues than you. Join online mommy groups and engage with fellow parents. Also remember to reach out and keep in touch with your family and friends telephonically or via online communication channels. If you and your family tend to disagree about what are safe and what is not, you will have to be firm and set a few boundaries. You are a soon-to-be-parent and you know what is best for your baby. Being pregnant during a pandemic situation increases the risk of post-natal depression. Be sure to look after your mental health as well because mental health is equally important than physical wellbeing. Check in with your GP if you feel that you are struggling to cope.
- During a pandemic, your most important priority is to remain safe and look after the welfare of your unborn baby. Limit time spent near crowds or hospitals. Instead of going out, try to set up a video call with your GP instead.
- If you are opting for a home birth, make sure you book your midwife as soon as possible.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Follow all the necessary precautions as advised by health authorities.
Try to remain positive
The future may appear uncertain, and feelings of confusion and anxiousness are normal. When you are experiencing these feelings, just remember you are carrying a precious growing baby inside of you and soon you will be able to meet him or her.
With the COVID-19 virus, many women that are pregnant during pandemic chaos often worry and feel uncertain about what to expect. Once again, we have to stress how important it is to try to remain calm and keep an eye on your symptoms. If you are having any disconcerting symptoms during your first trimester, you can set up an appointment with your GP or hospital to have yourself checked out.
Hospitals and clinics are stretched during a pandemic situation and restricting the spread of corona enjoys priority. However, your health is important and if you are having any uncertainties, you will get the help that you need.