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Coronavirus and pregnancy: Advice for pregnant women in the UAE

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, there have been concerns regarding the health of pregnant women, and whether they are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. Being pregnant is already a stressful experience for every woman, and now with the flooding news of the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty it brings with it, the pregnancy experience can be all the more overwhelming.

With so little known so far about the virus itself, pregnant women are worried about whether their state can put their own and their baby’s health at risk. Here, Pacific Prime Dubai has compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions mothers-to-be have about coronavirus and pregnancy. 

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Coronavirus and pregnancy: are pregnant women at higher risk?

There is a very limited amount of data available to ascertain whether pregnant women are at higher risk of contracting the virus and whether they experience its associated symptoms more intensely. Some small studies have found that pregnant women do not appear to be more susceptible to the consequences of COVID-19 infection than the general population.

However, due to the many changes occurring in pregnant women’s bodies and immune systems, they can be more prone to contracting respiratory infections, especially during the last trimester of their pregnancy. The general recommendations for pregnant women are to stay at home as much as possible right now and practice good personal hygiene and social distancing measures.

The Dubai Health Authority’s guidelines for pregnant women during the coronavirus pandemic

The Dubai Health Authority latest Instagram’s post provided guidelines for pregnant women during COVID-19, encouraging mothers-to-be to stay at home and minimize their risk of getting infected. The guidelines, however, also stated that there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at a higher risk during this crisis.

The tips include working from home, avoiding large gatherings, and distancing themselves from anyone who shows any illness symptoms. On top of that, women who are under home quarantine should maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat a nutritious diet, exercise, and have plenty of sleep, and most importantly keep in touch with their doctor and don’t skip pregnancy check-ups

How could the coronavirus impact your birth plan?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals might have enacted new measures to keep mothers and babies safe. Some mothers might be afraid of getting infected in the hospital, or during one of their neonatal check-ups. Experts stress that it’s still very important that patients receive prenatal care during this time. And while every hospital is different, here are a few changes moms might experience:

  • Spacing out prenatal appointments.
  • If applicable, conducting a telehealth appointment.
  • Restrictions on visitors and who is allowed in the delivery room.
  • If you’ve been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19, your doctors and nurses will be wearing protective gear.
  • You may be able to be discharged earlier if you want to be.
  • You may not be able to walk around the hallways during labor.

What’s most important, however, is that you can talk to your OB-GYN about any concerns you might have. Especially in a situation where a mother with a confirmed coronavirus infection is about to give birth. Should this happen, the woman would require constant monitoring, especially in regards to their oxygen levels, as birth can involve some complications. Pregnant women with confirmed COVID-19 can still give birth vaginally, however, if their respiratory condition (breathing) suggests that urgent delivery would be needed, a cesarean birth may be recommended.

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What impact could the coronavirus have on a newborn?

If a woman with confirmed coronavirus is giving birth, it is recommended that she be admitted to a single-patient room.

Some hospitals might advise to temporarily separate infants born to mothers with a confirmed case of COVID-19 to lower the risk of the baby getting infected. Babies born to moms who are suspected of having COVID-19 should also stay in an area that’s separate from unaffected infants. If the baby needs NICU after birth, the distancing norms should also be observed. 

If testing is available, the baby should be tested for COVID-19 at 24 hours of age, and again when he/she is 48 hours old. If the baby can’t be tested, he/she should be treated as if they’re positive for the virus by undergoing a 14-day observation period.

Is breastfeeding safe?

Can mothers breastfeed their child if they have COVID-19? The good news is that pregnant women can’t pass on the virus to the foetus. However, after the baby is born, anybody can infect the newborn with the coronavirus. In fact, breast milk can help protect babies against many illnesses, but mothers should consult with the doctor and make a decision based on their health if they are fit to breastfeed their baby. If a woman has symptoms and decides to breastfeed, she needs to wash her hands well before, wear a face mask, and wash or wipe her breasts thoroughly before and after breastfeeding to minimize the risk of infecting the baby. 

Contact Pacific Prime to learn more

Being pregnant in the era of coronavirus will certainly disrupt some of your plans, and the overall maternity care experience. However, there are resources available to make pregnancy and maternity as stress-free as possible. For example, by securing maternity insurance via Pacific Prime, not only do you get the best benefits for the price you pay, but also a dedicated team to help you with claims and complex insurance terms and restrictions, as well as a plethora of information about giving birth as an expat in Dubai.

As an award-winning insurance brokerage with over 20 years of experience, Pacific Prime Dubai specializes in international health insurance, including individual, maternity, and family health insurance plans. We also provide specialized newborn insurance plans that can offset costs in case your newborn needs some extra care. 

Contact our specialists today for a free quote and plan comparison!

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