Pregnancy is a pretty crazy time. Add in a pandemic and, well, women who are expecting a new baby are probably feeling extra pressure. And not just in the nether regions!
Antenatal classes cancelled, strict hospital visitor restrictions and now, no nitrous oxide during labour. These are just a few of the changes pregnant mums can expect when giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic.
No nitrous oxide
According to 7News, one of the latest impacts to pregnant women through COVID-19 is the use of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. This pain relief option is no longer available during labour for women in South Australia amid coronavirus fears. The reasoning is because there is currently insufficient information about the cleaning, filtering and potential aerosolisation in the setting of COVID-19.
Nitrous oxide is not banned in other states.
Pethidine and epidurals are still available (thank the birthing gods for that).
COVID-19 birth and hospital visitors regulations
Mothers are only allowed one support person during labour and no visitors while staying in hospital after bub is born. These regulations will vary slightly depending on the hospital and state.
However, you may find that you still need to share a room in the maternity ward as private rooms are few and far between at many public hospitals. It may be worth giving your hospital a call to check the regulations as, again, this will change depending on state and hospital.
It’s probably also a good idea to limit all visitors at home as well. This grandfather got to meet his grandson, but only through the window, which is heartbreaking, but necessary during this uncertain time in our lives.
Antenatal classes online
The new guidelines and social distancing mean all antenatal classes are cancelled. However, many midwives have made arrangements to do run their antenatal lessons online so expecting mums don’t miss out on this information.
Increasing home birth enquiries
Many pregnant women are also looking into a home birth rather than risking a trek to the hospital. However, health authorities insist that, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no added risk to pregnant women wanting to give birth in the hospital.
Pregnant or not, stay home and stay safe
The general consensus for women who are pregnant is to stay home unless you’re in labour of course. But, keep in mind, everyone, pregnant or not, should be staying home right now.
Professor Mark Umstad, Director of Maternity Services at the Royal Women’s Hospital, explains,
As the impact of COVID-19 extends through our society, we want to reassure pregnant women that there is still no evidence that they are more susceptible to infection than non-pregnant women, and that there is no sign that their unborn babies can be infected.
Doctors, nurses and hospitals are working together to ensure the safest possible outcomes for pregnant women and their babies during this understandably stressful period for them.”
- Pregnant women do not appear to be more susceptible to the consequences of COVID-19 than the general population.
- There is no evidence that the virus can pass to a baby during pregnancy.
- There is currently no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to COVID-19.
- At the moment there is no evidence that the virus can be carried in breastmilk, so it is felt the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk.