Coronavirus - Why Being a ‘Vulnerable Group’ Doesn’t Matterby Robert Dunne
Ok, now that toilet roll has become the most valuable commodity in the world, lets just take a minute to consider this, WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?!
Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that just because we’re British we should approach this with a top hat and afternoon tea with scones and no care whatsoever, but I mean toilet roll, seriously?! Next thing you know we’re going to be praising Lord Andrex, ruler of the triple-ply! Do you now see where I'm going with this?
I would just like to take a moment to say I do appreciate the risk coronavirus poses to some parts of the population, I am simply trying to add some humour to the situation, but today I want to take a minute to just hopefully put some minds at ease over who is actually at risk and who isn’t, more specifically in regards to the world of pregnancy.
See in recent days, the government has announced that pregnant women are part of the vulnerable groups who should be warier of the risks of coronavirus, but, why is this?
In essence, viral infections in some cases are known to be worse in pregnant women, but the important thing to consider is that it's only in 'some cases', as currently there is no evidence to suggest that this will be the case for everyone.
It also needs to be remembered that pregnant women are no more likely to catch the virus than anyone else, so as long as you take adequate precautions, you will be absolutely fine. So I am just going to reiterate some of the points that need to be remembered for expecting mums so that you are as aware as you can be.
‘What effect will the virus have on my baby if I’m infected?’
Very simply, the evidence currently suggests that the virus cannot be passed to your baby during pregnancy. One thing to note is that some babies born to patients in China were born prematurely, however it is yet to be confirmed whether this is linked to the virus. If you are worried about your baby during your self-isolation period, do not go to A&E or a maternity triage unit. Instead, contact your midwife, or, out of hours, your maternity team, they will then decide whether you need to visit the hospital. If you do, travel via either private or hospital transport, and warn the maternity triage reception prior to arriving. But it needs to be remembered that at this moment there is no evidence suggesting the virus can be passed to your baby, although they will be tested for it post-delivery for safety.
‘Can I go to antenatal classes if I am in self-isolation?’
Your midwife or antenatal clinic will need to be informed that you are in self-isolation for confirmed or unconfirmed coronavirus. At this point, they will be able to advise on what will happen. It is likely that your classes will be delayed until your isolation is over. If your midwife or doctor feels the appointment cannot wait, then the appropriate arrangements will be made, for example attending a different time or clinic.
‘How will self-isolation affect my birth?’
In regards to where, as a precaution, it is being advised that women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus attend an obstetric unit, where you and your baby can be most effectively monitored. It is not currently recommended that you give birth at home or in a midwife-led unit, this is so that constant monitoring can happen to ensure the safety of you and your baby.
In regards to how, there currently is no evidence suggesting that you cannot give birth vaginally or that a caesarean would be safer, so your birth plan should be followed as closely as it can be for your benefit. If your breathing suggests that you may need an urgent delivery, a caesarean may be recommended.
For pain relief, there is currently nothing to suggest that women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus can’t have an epidural or spinal block. Although, Entonox (gas and air) is not recommended due to the possibility of it spreading the virus. Your maternity team will discuss with you all the available options for pain relief on the day.
To see all of our answers to questions surrounding coronavirus and your baby click here
So...what to do now?
As I’m sure you are aware, many things are closing. You may have already been working from home for some time or you may have just started, either way, make sure to keep yourself actively involved in your job if you can, trust me its a great distraction! If you can’t work, then make sure you keep yourself busy however you can, or you may find yourself becoming focused on the situation surrounding the virus which may cause unnecessary stress. In regards to supplies, please don’t bow to the great Lord Andrex and buy all of the toilet roll and supplies that you can find, because, to put it simply, you won’t need them. Remember if you buy everything then you may be stopping other families buying something at all, so be considerate of that. If you are unable to leave the house, either you can ask a friend to shop for you or why not take advantage of the world of online shopping to have everything you need delivered straight to your door.
If there are three points to remember, stay safe, stay sensible, stay isolated. If you follow these three simple steps you won’t need to worry about the idea that you are part of some ‘vulnerable group’. Instead, you will be able to live practically normally, but with the added benefit that, if you want, you can constantly work with a brew at your side, who could complain at that!
If you want to read more from the advice of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, then click here