Advice for pregnant women
If you're pregnant, you may be feeling anxious about how coronavirus (COVID-19) could affect you, your baby and your pregnancy care.
Please let us know if you are a maternity patient of the Women’s and you:
- have symptoms of coronavirus
- are waiting on a coronavirus test result
- or someone close to you has recently tested positive for coronavirus
You can call us on 8345 2000 (Parkville) or 9076 1233 (Sandringham). You will not miss out on the care you need. Whatever your circumstance, we are here to help you.
Pregnancy and your risk
There's currently no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus, and neither are their babies. However, because this is a new virus it’s important to take all precautions.
If you're pregnant, it's essential that you:
- stay at home as much as possible
- wash your hands regularly
- stay at least 1.5 metres away from anyone you don’t live with
- wear a face mask if it is difficult to keep 1.5 metres away from others
- don’t cough or sneeze into your hands
- take care wherever you go, assume others may be carrying the virus.
There's no evidence that coronavirus causes miscarriage or affects how your baby develops in pregnancy.
While there have been some cases overseas where the virus has passed from mother to the baby, the risk of transmission is understood to be low. It’s important to note that research shows that in almost every case, babies with the virus have recovered very well.
There's also no evidence coronavirus can be passed on to your baby in breast milk, so the benefits of breastfeeding and the protection it offers outweigh any risks.
You can see the latest evidence about pregnancy and coronavirus on the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website and the UK's Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists website.
Appointments and scans
You will continue to have regular appointments while you're pregnant, but they might be done differently. For example:
- Some of your appointments may be done over the phone or by video call.
- If you need to come in for a face-to-face appointment, you must come on your own. Your partner (or other support person) can drop you off and be on speaker phone or video call during your appointment where possible. They cannot wait in the hospital.
- At face-to-face appointments, you’ll be screened on entry and provided with a face mask to wear.
While these changes have been made to help keep everyone safe and stop the spread of coronavirus, we realise they may be disappointing for some women.
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus
If you begin to feel unwell and have a fever, chills or sweats, a cough or sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss of sense of smell or taste you should seek advice and get tested for coronavirus.
In certain circumstances headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may also be considered.
Contact the Victorian Government 24-hour coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 or call your GP. They will determine if you need to be tested for coronavirus. You can also visit the DHHS website to find a testing location close to home.
If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000 and ask for an ambulance.
If you have any other symptoms
If you have any other symptoms, or anything else you're worried about, you should still get medical help as you usually would.
Contact your GP for an appointment or speak to your midwife or maternity team if you have any questions.
It’s very important that pregnant women continue to get the medical care and attention they need. Please do not put off seeking medical attention if anything is bothering you.
When to contact your GP or come into hospital
» Your baby stops moving or you are concerned that your baby is moving much less than normal.
» You have:
» Your waters break or if you have a constant clear watery vaginal discharge.
» You’ve had any trauma such as an assault, a car accident or a serious fall.
Labour and birth
In addition to our hospital midwives, having a birth partner to provide personal support is important for your wellbeing during labour.
You'll be able to have 1 birth partner with you during your labour and birth. They will not be able to leave the labour room as there is no waiting area for visitors. This person will need to pass screening, so we’d encourage you to plan ahead for an alternative birth partner just in case.
Our midwives and doctors will be wearing gowns, masks, gloves and eye protection during your labour.
You won’t be required to wear a mask or any other personal protective equipment during your labour or on the postnatal ward. You may be required to wear a mask if you move around the hospital, and your birth partner will be required to wear a mask at all times during their visit to the hospital.
These things are to keep you, your baby and the staff caring for you safe.
After the birth
After your baby is born and providing it is well, you’ll be able to have skin-to-skin contact in the birth suite. You'll also be encouraged to breastfeed.
When you move to the postnatal ward, your birth partner can transfer with you and stay with you for the remainder of that day. At subsequent visits your birth partner can stay for up to 2 hours per day on the ward.
Due to space limitations in some rooms, they may occasionally be asked to wait in another area while clinicians check you and/or your baby.
Other than your birth partner, no other visitors are allowed on the postnatal ward.
When you are discharged from hospital, you will still receive support through our postnatal care in the home program. Some of these appointments may be done in person or over the phone.