What we know during COVID-19
There are currently many things we do not know about Covid-19 and it's possible impact on pregnancy and birth. But there are many things we do know about how women can keep safe in pregnancy to maximise their own wellbeing and the chances of their baby being born safe and well.
What we know about keeping safe in pregnancy:
- Attend at least 7 antenatal visits. This allows you and your care-provider to thoroughly assess you and your baby’s health and well-being including monitoring your baby’s growth, and testing to detect any developing medical problems especially those specific to pregnancy like high blood pressure and diabetes. This includes listening to the baby’s heartbeat and checking your blood pressure as well as taking blood and urine tests.
- Quickly report any concerning changes in your baby’s usual pattern, strength or frequency of movements
- Maintaining a healthy life-style e.g. eating nutritious food, regular exercise
- Keeping vaccinations to vaccine preventable diseases up-to-date e.g. whooping cough and seasonal flu
- Avoiding taking any drugs or medications that are unsafe during pregnancy
We also know that if you experience any of these symptoms they may indicate something might be wrong with you or your unborn baby and so it is important to immediately report to your care provider if you:
- experience any change in your baby’s usual movements
- have any vaginal bleeding
- suspect your waters have broken
- have sudden severe pain
- have a severe headache
- have visual disturbance (spots, stars blurred vision)
- have abdominal trauma such as a fall, heavy blow to your belly or car accident
- have itchy skin (without a rash)
We know that more frequent monitoring can reduce the risk of stillbirth in pregnancies that are high-risk. If any of the following apply to you, talk to your provider about a high-risk care plan.
- Advanced maternal age (over 35 years old)
- Maternal overweight or obesity
- Maternal health concerns (diabetes, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, lupus, etc)
- Australian Aboriginal, African American or Native American race
- Poor growth in baby
- Too much or too little amniotic fluid
Here is a list of sources you may like to access if you would like to read more about these would like to read more about the evidence that supports these dot points.
Australian Government Department of Health (2019) Pregnancy care guidelines summary of recommended practice points. Available from https://www.health.gov.au/resources/pregnancy-care-guidelines/summary-of-recommendations-and-practice-points
Department of Health (2019) Clinical Practice Guidelineshttps://www.health.gov.au/resources/pregnancy-care-guidelines
RANZCOG (2016) Antenatal care during pregnancy. Available from https://ranzcog.edu.au/RANZCOG_/media/RANZCOG-MEDIA/Women%27s%20Health/Patient%20information/Antenatal-care-during-pregnancy-pamphlet.pdf?ext=.pdf