Q&A: Pregnancy During COVID-19

Pregnancy may be one of life’s greatest joys, where the upcoming days are filled with nothing but excitement and anticipation for the baby’s arrival.

Things are a lot different now with COVID-19still in full swing around the world. Plenty of ‘What ifs’ have come about and we’re here to answer them all in this article!

In what ways can COVID-19 affect my pregnancy?

Data has shown how pregnant women may be more likely to develop severe COVID-19 and face a higher risk for maternal and newborn complications. This is why it is advisable for pregnant women to be constantly vigilant and practice all the recommended COVID-19 preventive measures.

Thus far, COVID-19 has not been shown to cause foetal abnormalities in Singapore.

Am I more susceptible to COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses since I am pregnant?

Pregnant women will experience changes in their immune system, making them more susceptible to viral infections, such as COVID-19 and influenza. Furthermore, depending on the type of virus, different complications may occur in expecting mothers.

What are the precautions I should take while expecting?

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are now eligible to receive the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine.

Studies on women who were vaccinated while pregnant, reviewed by the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination, found no evidence that the mRNA-based Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. There have been no vaccine-related side effects reported in babies who were breastfed by mothers who were vaccinated while breastfeeding, as mRNA-based vaccines are not live vaccines and are unlikely to affect breastfed babies.

Other than vaccination, the recommended COVID-19 precautionary measures should also be practised: regularly washing hands well with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based hand rub with an alcohol content of at least 70%.

As much as possible, stay away from crowded, poorly ventilated places as the chances of spreading virus infections in such places are higher through contact.

What happens if I get infected with COVID-19 while expecting?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, consult your doctor immediately. It may lead to a respiratory infection or other serious complications if left untreated.

Can COVID-19 be passed from mother to baby in the womb or upon birth?

From the few cases of infection, babies were not severely affected after being born to mothers who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Can I still breastfeed if I am issued a Quarantine Order or Stay-Home-Notice?

Breastfeeding can continue even if a mother tests positive for COVID-19. However, wear a face mask when you are carrying your child and observe strict hygiene to reduce the risk of droplets from your mouth and nose coming into contact with your baby.

Are babies at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19?

Babies appear to have equal risk as adults contracting the virus. However, with the current state of knowledge, the risk of severe complications seems to be much lower in babies than that in adults.

What are the precautions I can take for my baby?

Practise strict personal hygiene, wear a mask and maintain social distancing when in public. Ensure that all the objects and surfaces that your child comes into contact with are always kept clean, and washed or disinfected thoroughly with soap and water.

Reduce the risk of droplets from your mouth and nose from coming into contact with your baby. Alternatively, keep newborn or young children at home as much as possible.

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