Coronavirus: Looking after yourself and your baby in pregnancy
Currently there is no evidence that pregnant women who get coronavirus are more at risk of serious complications than the general population or that coronavirus increases the risk of miscarriage. It is possible, but currently considered unlikely, coronavirus could be passed to your baby during pregnancy or soon after birth. Very few babies seem to get seriously unwell. As this is a new virus, we are just beginning to learn more.
As a precaution, pregnant women have been identified as a vulnerable group for coronavirus. Pregnant women without symptoms or serious underlying health conditions should follow national social distancing advice. If you or someone you are living with has symptoms, you should follow national self-isolation advice.
If you have an underlying health condition, such as a known heart condition, you are strongly advised to follow national shielding guidance. If you are not sure whether this applies to you or what additional precautions to take, please visit the link below.
If you or a member of your household has symptoms of coronavirus, please call your midwife or maternity team before attending any appointments or before your midwife visits you at home. If the appointment is not urgent, it may be postponed for 7 or 14 days.
Maternity services are working to ensure you and your baby receive personal and safe care during the coronavirus pandemic. It is important that you still attend your antenatal appointments and continue to seek advice from your midwife or maternity team.
Contact your midwife or maternity team if:
- you have bleeding from your vagina or leaking fluid (clear or any colour)
- your baby’s movements have slowed down, stopped or changed
- you have been asked to monitor your blood pressure at home and recordings are higher than usual • you have a headache, problems with your vision, pain just below your ribs, vomiting or sudden swelling of your face, hands or feet
- you have severe itching or a rash, particularly one affecting your hands and feet; or if the whites of your eyes and your skin is yellow
- you have pain in your tummy, or you are having contractions or tightenings
- you feel unsafe at any time.
Trust your instincts!
- if in doubt, get checked out!
- voice your concerns
- ensure your concerns are heard.
It is important you continue to attend antenatal appointments to monitor your and your baby’s health and wellbeing. Where appropriate, your hospital may offer you an appointment by phone or video call to reduce unnecessary travel.
If you have any concerns, contact your midwife or maternity team. Do not wait until the next day or your next appointment.
Baby movements Every baby is different – no particular number of movements is considered ‘normal’ – so it’s important to get to know how your baby moves.
From 16-24 weeks on you should feel your baby move more and more often, up to until 32 weeks when movements roughly stay the same until you give birth. It is not true that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy, so please contact your midwife or maternity team immediately, if you think your baby’s movements have changed, slowed down, or stopped.
Mental and emotional wellbeing It is normal to feel a bit anxious during pregnancy. If you are feeling anxious or stressed, breathing deeply can help. Try to take some time out for you – perhaps listen to your favourite music, relax with a book or talk to a supportive friend or family member. You can get information on maintaining mental wellbeing: tiny.cc/covid19mhguidance
If you feel anxious or stressed all the time, talk to your GP, midwife or maternity team. They will help you access the right support and treatment, if you need it.
Physical wellbeing Enough sleep, exercise and a well-balanced diet are important for maintaining a healthy weight, good circulation and physical wellbeing.
There are lots of ways to stay active in pregnancy, such as a gentle walk, gentle stretching or yoga. For information on staying healthy during pregnancy visit: www.nhs.uk/start4life
Stopping smoking will benefit both you and your baby immediately. It’s never too late and you are up to four times more likely to stop smoking successfully with support. Please speak to your midwife or maternity team. They can refer you to specially trained staff who can advise you on the best way to manage your cravings and become smoke free.
What to do if you think you have coronavirus:
If you have a high temperature and/or a new, continuous cough,you should contact your midwife or maternity team.
Your maternity team will assess your symptoms and advise you what to do next.
You may be asked to stay at home for seven days. If there are immediate concerns you will be asked to attend the maternity unit.
Contact your midwife or maternity team urgently if your condition gets worse or you cannot cope with your symptoms at home.
In an emergency dial 999. For any non-emergency concerns, call NHS 111.