MoPH answers COVID-19 related FAQs by pregnant women

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Maternal and Child Health Officer (ag) of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Oneka Scott has assured that the health of pregnant women is a priority during the COVID pandemic.

Dr. Scott noted that expectant mothers can survive the virus and have a safe delivery, however, they must take extra precautions to protect their well-being and that of the baby.

She addressed frequently asked questions on pregnancy and COVID-19.

Question: Am I at a greater risk of being infected with COVID-19 because I am pregnant?

Answer: According to the World Health Organization to date as far as the research shows, pregnant women are not at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus than the general population. That being said, due to changes in your bodies and immune systems, you can in the last months of pregnancy be gravely affected by some respiratory infections, and so it’s important to take all necessary precautions.

Question: I am an expecting mother. What should I be doing to keep myself safe during this pandemic outbreak?

Answer: Well you are advised to:

    • Avoid contact with anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
    • When possible avoid public transport, work from home.
    • Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, particularly in closed or confined spaces. Avoid physical gatherings with friends and family.
    • Eat healthy, practice moderate physical exercise if recommended by your physician and get lots of rest.
    • Practice regular hand washing for 20 seconds with soap and water
    • Practice regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces with the recommended detergents.
    • Conduct self-monitoring of any signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and seek early care from a health care provider

Question: Is it safe to continue my check-ups at the clinics?

Answer: Yes, it is very safe to visit care centres. No Clinics have been terminated and antenatal services continue uninterrupted.

Currently, in Guyana, all the clinics are adhering to physical distancing guidelines. So, you may receive a call from your provider to reschedule your appointment to a specified time and date.

The Ministry urges you to keep those appointment times as it prevents overcrowding at the facilities. We also encourage that upon visiting the health facility, you adhere to the seating arrangements, respiratory hygiene and any other measures adopted by your facility to stop the spread of COVID -19.

Tele-consultations are also an option to consider if there are any further concerns.

Question: Is the hospital safe for me to give birth?

Answer: Yes, all birthing facilities are safe for delivery. Also, there have been some adjustments and changes at birthing sites to prevent the spread of COVID -19. All health care providers will be wearing a mask and other protective equipment. You will also be requested to wear a mask when accessing the services.

Question: If I have COVID-19 can I have my baby in a safe environment?

Answer: Yes! All birthing facilities have made provisions to ensure the safe delivery of any pregnant mother diagnosed with COVID-19. At the GPHC, there is a special location identified for delivery and if needed a C- section. After the baby is born the mother will also be cared for in a specially assigned space.

Question: If I have COVID-19 will I pass it to my baby?

Answer: It has not yet been proven whether or not the virus can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. However, during delivery, the health care provider will take all the necessary precautions to keep your baby safe.

 Question: If I have COVID -19 can I safely breastfeed my baby?

Answer: As far as we know, it is perfectly safe to continue breastfeeding. It’s the best thing a mother can do for her newborn ” bearing in mind that you will have to protect your baby from the transmission of infections.

Dr. Scott advised that pregnant women should disclose any symptoms they might be experiencing related to COVID-19. These can be highlighted to physicians who provide care during the pregnancy

Also, the Maternal and Child Health Department at health facilities in the respective communities or the Ministry of Public Health’s Facebook page can be accessed for further information if there are any questions or comments.