There is so much that we do not know about Covid-19. With no confirmed cure at hand, can only try our best to contain this virus. This must be especially worrying for pregnant mothers. Is it possible to spread the virus to the unborn child? Is it necessary for pregnant mothers to confine themselves at home because of the virus? What should I do to keep myself and my unborn child safe?
Your fears are warranted. As an obstetrician, I hear the concerns of mothers first-hand. After all, every mum wants the best for her baby.
#1 What is coronavirus? Can I get infected during pregnancy?
The coronavirus, typically found in animals, is infectious and can be transmitted from person to person. So yes, you can get infected whether you are pregnant or not. You can get this virus when standing near a coughing or sneezing infected person or touching contaminated objects. Do take precautions!
#2 What are the symptoms of coronavirus infection? How serious is the infection?
If you have the flu symptoms with a dry cough, fever and even shortness of breath, it is best to check with your doctor! Infected patients can also get diarrhoea. There is a 2-3% fatality rate in affected patients.
#3 Are mothers more prone to coronavirus?
Data on how coronavirus can impact pregnancy are currently limited. As the immune systems of women during pregnancy are generally weaker than average, there is a risk of more serious complications. As with all other illnesses, it is best to maintain preventative measures. So watch out!
#4 Are there reports of mothers infected with Covid-19?
A 38-week full-term mother in Harbin, China, became infected with the virus in January 2020. An emergency C-section was performed and a healthy baby girl with a good Apgar score (showing good health status) was born. Both mother and baby were postnatally stable. Moreover, the baby was not infected with the virus!
Sadly, this was not the case with another infected pregnant mother who delivered her baby in February 2020. Both were tested positive.
However, this is contrary to a small study published by the Lancet. 9 infected pregnant moms whose babies were delivered via C-section were not found to have signs of the infection. This casts doubts on vertical transmission.
#5 What should pregnant mums do to avoid coronavirus infection?
It is necessary to practice good hygiene habits regardless of whether or not pregnancy is at stake. Before meals, wash hands with water and soap. If not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs, like Cryptosporidium, Norovirus, and Clostridium Difficile. Even if alcohol-based hand sanitizers can kill many types of microbes very effectively when used correctly, some people may not use a large enough volume of the sanitizers or tend to wipe it off before it has sanitised the germs. 
If you have not taken a flu vaccine, there is never going to be a better time to do so. Even the common flu can result in severe infections that might affect pregnancy. Taking the jab also significantly reduces symptoms that might be similar to the coronavirus. What better way to have peace of mind than to keep these illnesses at bay?
If you are suffering from a cough, fever, or shortness of breath, please visit your doctor immediately. This is especially so if you have recently visited China or come into close contact with an infected individual.
Stay safe soon-to-be mothers!