Pregnancy & COVID-19 HeraBEAT Blog

Pregnancy & COVID-19

What is Coronavirus?

The current outbreak of coronavirus is a new strain of flu, that manifests with typical flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and general respiratory difficulties. Other symptoms may include, runny nose, headache and fatigue. Some people infected with coronavirus may only experience mild symptoms and recover quickly, whilst others may become very ill.

Source:      https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

 

Who is at risk?

Many Australians, varying in age  have been and will be diagnosed with coronavirus in the coming months. Research thus far has indicated that the elderly (over 65 years) and people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart and lung disease are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms.

Pregnant women

Because this is a new virus, there is limited evidence on the impact this disease has on pregnancy and unborn children. It is expected that most pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms and there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more susceptible to the virus.  The UK College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists report that there have been no reported deaths of pregnant women from coronavirus.

Source:      https://ranzcog.edu.au/statements-guidelines/covid-19-statement
https://www.archivesofpathology.org/doi/pdf/10.5858/arpa.2020-0901-SA

 

Couples undergoing fertility treatment

The Fertility Society of Australia recommends that individuals seeking to become pregnant naturally or by way of Assisted Reproductive Technology (IVF) should avoid non-essential travel to known areas of infection and avoid contact with individuals who may have become infected or have travelled to or from an area that is known to be of high risk.

Source:      https://www.fertilitysociety.com.au/home/fsa-statement-covid-19/

 

What precautions should you take?

If you are experiencing any of the earlier mentioned symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately by contacting your GP.   If you have a scheduled appointment with your specialists and feel unwell, please seek medical assistance from your GP or your local hospital.

If you have recently travelled overseas (in the last 14 days), please also advise us before attending an appointment. Do note, that as of Sunday 15th March 2020 (ongoing), the federal government has encouraged all Australians returning from overseas to self-isolate for 14 days.

Further precautions to minimise your risk of infection

  • Wash your hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or a hand dryer. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser regularly that is 65% and greater of Ethanol or 70% isopropanol.
  • Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow. Wash or sanitise your hands immediately after you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay at home if you feel sick. If you take medication make sure you have enough, or organise to have these medications replenished, preferably via contactless pickup/delivery.
  • Phone your doctor or the dedicated Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 if you need medical attention. They will advise you what to do. The hotline is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, eat well and get plenty of sleep.
  • Wearing a face mask is not necessary if you are well.
  • Be vigilant and self-aware in public spaces and reduce direct exposure to unwell people.

Avoid non-essential travel, especially to known areas of infection and avoid unnecessary contact with individuals.

 

 

Clinics are open!

Most Obstetricians and Gynaecologists  continue to have either face-to-face consults or to conduct  telehealth appointments as well as being on call to be present for births. The government has extended telehealth services to specialists including Obstetrician and Gynaecologists to support and care for women.   Telehealth consultations are available for reviews, test results, initial consultations and any appointment that does not require a physical examination or scan.
his can be done by utilising computers, mobile phones, and even FaceTime. The options available are dependent on your doctor as well as what is deemed to be the most appropriate option at the time. Some other changes that you would see around clinics and hospitals:

  • To maximise social distancing- In the waiting room, you may notice that chairs have been rearranged or placed at a safe distance.
  • Hand sanitisers are provided at many common areas , such as entrances to shops and shopping centers, at doctor’s reception area, entrance/exit to public buildings, etc.
  • All visitors are required to undergo a temperature check upon entrance into the building.
  • All visitors are requested to wash their hands upon arrival and/or regularly use hand sanitisers.

 

Future updates

The situation surrounding the coronavirus is changing daily, and we suggest that if you want to be kept abreast with the latest developments around Australia, you may browse the following websites – government sites are recommended.

 

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

https://ranzcog.edu.au/statements-guidelines/covid-19-statement

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

https://www.fertilitysociety.com.au/home/fsa-statement-covid-19/

 

Please note: This information is correct at the time of publication (31St May 2020):

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