Childbirth and The Coronavirus: What Changes For You?

Childbirth and The Coronavirus: What Changes For You?

Childbirth and The Coronavirus: What Changes For You?
If you are due to have a baby soon, you may be wondering about your birth with the coronavirus outbreak. Is that still possible at home or is it safer in the hospital? And what about if you are infected? How will the care surrounding childbirth change with the new measures?

  • Coronavirus infection does not appear to be more serious in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women.
  • If you are infected with the coronavirus, the advice is to give birth in the hospital, so that the health of you and your baby can be closely monitored.
  • If you have a COVID-19 infection, you can still give birth in the usual way if your health allows it.
  • Are you not infected and will you give birth soon? Then you may not be able to give birth in the hospital if there is no medical need for this. This still varies per hospital.
  • The rules regarding (maternity) visits to the hospital have been tightened.

The coronavirus and pregnancy

Research into the coronavirus is still in progress. It now seems that a corona infection is no different when you are pregnant than when you are not pregnant.

So there are no reasons to assume that you are more at risk as a pregnant woman.

It is true that you are more likely to become seriously ill if you have a disorder of your heart, lungs or immune system. In that case, pay extra attention to complaints and ring the bell in time.

The risk of miscarriage or birth defects in your child does not seem to be increased with COVID-19. This appears from a small study . More research is needed to gain more clarity.

Not infected with corona and your delivery

If you are heavily pregnant during the coronavirus outbreak, you may have questions about your upcoming delivery. Is this still possible as always with the new measures? In principle yes. Some rules are different. In general, the following applies:

  • The choice of a home birth or hospital birth when there is no medical indication can be compromised. It depends on the local situation and the available beds whether a hospital birth without medical necessity is still possible. Inquire about the current policy for the hospital in your region.
  • If you have complaints, such as a cough, cold or sore throat, giving birth in a bath is not recommended. The chance of spreading the coronavirus is greater during a delivery in the bath.
  • If you want to give birth in the hospital, one person (your partner / sister / mother / other supervisor) may be there. This person should not have any complaints.
  • During an outpatient delivery , the hospital staff asks you to receive your maternity visit at home and not in the maternity ward. Children are also not allowed to enter the maternity ward.
  • Do you have to stay in the hospital longer after childbirth? Then the rules of the hospital apply.

Delivered at home and infected with the coronavirus

Little is known about possible problems that COVID-19 can pose during labor. That is why Dutch doctors and midwives have decided to be careful with this.

Are you about to give birth and are you infected with the coronavirus? Then the advice is to give birth in the hospital.

 During a home birth , no immediate medical attention is available if necessary. In the hospital, your baby can be monitored with a cardiotocogram ( CTG ). The gynecologist or midwife can also immediately intervene in case of a health problem.

Have you recovered by now and was the corona infection more than two weeks ago? Then a hospital birth is not necessary and you can give birth at home.

Giving birth with the coronavirus: how is that going?

Caregivers take precautions in an infected patient. This ensures that they do not become infected and that the virus does not spread.

This means that you will be placed in a separate room during your delivery . This is called an isolation chamber.

As few doctors, midwives and nurses as possible enter your room. Those you see wear a protective suit and mouth masks.

Your health is monitored by measuring your breathing and oxygen levels via a monitor. Your baby is monitored with a CTG device.

The delivery itself should not proceed differently than usual. In principle, you can still give birth vaginally if your health allows this. An epidural is also still possible.

Keep in mind that the threshold to get an epidural may be higher. The epidural should be performed by an anesthetist. With full ICs, an epidural during labor is low on this doctor's priority list. If the anesthetists have to perform treatments on seriously ill patients at the ICU, this is the priority.

Therefore, be open to other forms of pain relief that are offered in the hospital. Birth in the bath is not recommended, because the risk of spreading the virus is greater.

If you simply cannot give birth

If during your delivery it turns out that normal labor is unsuccessful, the gynecologist can proceed to an emergency Caesarean section. The best way of giving birth differs per person. Discuss your options with your gynecologist.

Your baby after delivery

Your child may remain in the isolation room with you after delivery, unless there is a medical reason for admitting him to the neonatology department .

You may not be allowed to come to your child while you are ill. This is an extreme measure, but is considered the safest choice in most hospitals. In some hospitals it is possible to stay together in an isolation room if your child also needs medical help.

  1. Your partner during labor

Are you infected with the coronavirus and does your partner also have complaints? According to the RCOG guideline , it is safer if he or she remains in isolation and is not present during your delivery.

This measure can differ per hospital. You may take someone else with you, as long as that person has no complaints.

If your partner has no complaints, it is necessary to wear a mouth mask and wash your hands often. With these measures, your partner can be present at the birth.

Infected with the coronavirus and cesarean section

Do you have a cesarean or an introduction to your delivery planned? Then it is possible that it will be postponed if you are infected. In case of mild complaints or suspicion of a COVID-19 infection, your gynecologist will assess what is best.

When it is safe for you to postpone your delivery, the doctors will choose this. This minimizes the risk of the virus spreading.

Is it not responsible to postpone your delivery? Then this continues and you will be admitted to an isolation room for your delivery.

Risk of infection of baby with coronavirus during delivery

As far as scientists now know, the virus is not easily transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy or delivery.

A small survey of nine women who gave birth found that none of their babies had the virus in their throat. No virus particles were also found in the amniotic fluid , umbilical cord blood and breast milk.

A new study was conducted on March 26 among infected pregnant women in Wuhan. Their 33 babies were examined after birth. Three of them nevertheless showed indications that they may have been infected in the womb.

The study group was small and two out of three babies also had other problems such as prematurity and meconium in the amniotic fluid. It is therefore too early to draw clear conclusions from this.

 This requires larger research. It is good to know that most babies in the studies carried out were simply healthy after birth.

This does not alter the fact that your baby cannot become infected after delivery. After all, you will hug and hold him a lot. Your baby will therefore be tested for COVID-19 and monitored closely after birth. Even after you leave the hospital.

Risk of the coronavirus for a newborn baby

You probably cannot easily transmit the virus to your baby during pregnancy. A recent Chinese study shows indications that your baby may develop health problems if you are infected with the coronavirus during pregnancy.

A possible cause is that your child lacks oxygen during pregnancy due to your illness. Whether this is really the case and whether this has to do with the coronavirus needs further investigation.

After delivery, your baby can become infected through contact with you. The chance that this will make him very sick seems small.

Until now, it appears that a COVID-19 infection in children is mild. Serious complaints in children have so far mainly occurred in children who already had other health problems.

Last update March 30, 2020

We try to keep the information on this page as current as possible. We do this by regularly checking the information from, among others, the RIVM, the CDC and gynecological guidelines for new information regarding the coronavirus and pregnancy and babies. However, it is possible that we sometimes lag behind their information.

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