I’m sure you have noticed that there is plenty of Covid around. NSW’s new case numbers are running at around 20,000 per day – numbers we wouldn’t have dreamt of a year ago. It also seems that new variants are always coming along. This, combined with the fact that immunity from both infection and vaccination are time limited, means we need to remain on our guard.
Vaccination means that the illness is usually mild but – and I cannot emphasise this strongly enough – you still do not want to get Covid whilst pregnant (or, for that matter, any other time but my current job is to give pregnancy advice). Catching covid whilst pregnant is at best inconvenient and at worst a threat to your health and that of your baby. If you are Covid positive we can’t conduct routine antenatal visits, blood tests or ultrasound scans. That said, if you have Covid and are concerned about your health or that of your baby, please contact me and we will arrange an appropriate hospital assessment (in full PPE, of course).
I don’t wish to be alarmist but scientific evidence is emerging that Covid infection particularly in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy may (I emphasise the “may”) be associated with spontaneous preterm labour and birth as well as stillbirth. Studies looking at the placentas of women who have had Covid in late pregnancy are beginning to show evidence of an immune “anti-infection” response in the tissues. This could be part of the mechanism by which adverse outcomes occur. Now all of that said fortunately mild illness appears to be most common in vaccinated pregnant women. Nonetheless – and I know this isn’t easy – PLEASE do all you can to avoid catching Covid whilst pregnant.
- Wear a mask in indoor settings (surgical, not cloth),
- Work from home if that is possible (I’m happy to write a letter to that effect for you),
- Avoid large indoor gatherings,
- Do NOT rely on RAT tests alone. If you have been exposed to Covid or have symptoms please get a PCR test ASAP, and
- Get vaccinated, including having your booster if it is due. This is vital and may save yourself, or your baby, a severe illness. There is now a very large body of scientific evidence that demonstrates vaccines and boosters are safe – and lifesaving – at all stages of pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Vaccines have no effect on fertility so can be administered while you are trying to conceive.
But if you do get Covid please let me know and we will organise a plan for monitoring the health of both you and your baby.