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Advice for people who are pregnant and having a baby in the Hutt Valley region

Alert level 2 update

Kia ora,

As a team, Hutt Maternity wants to help you understand what the COVID-19 pandemic may mean for you, your baby and your whānau.

Being pregnant does not appear to make you more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. Despite this, pregnant people should use all precaution to reduce the risk of developing the virus. We expect that most people who contract the virus will have very mild symptoms only. Those with other medical or pregnancy issues, such as asthma or diabetes, may be more susceptible to contracting the virus and may become more unwell if this happens. Information regarding COVID-19 for pregnant women, or those who have recently given birth, is also available on the Ministry of Health website.

We have included some important information below to help you keep safe and understand what COVID-19 may mean for you during your pregnancy.

 

Restrictions on visitors - level 2

Under alert level 2, there are some restrictions on visitors and support people. 

  • Delivery Suite and Maternity wards: 1 person can support you during labour and birth. Once your baby is born, two people can visit you in hospital - during visiting hours.
  • Special Care Baby Unit: Both parents/caregivers of babies in SCBU can visit (at any time) as long as they have not travelled out of the Wellington Region and are well. No visitors under the age of 5 will be allowed. This includes siblings.

Thank you for helping us keep you, your baby, your whānau and our staff safe during this time.

Symptoms

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:     

  • Temperature equal to or over 38°C
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have COVID-19, as the symptoms are very similar to other illnesses such as a cold or influenza (the ‘flu). If you have concerns, stay at home, and:

  • Get information from COVID-19.govt.nz 
  • Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 
  • Call your GP (telephone discussion now mandatory before visiting in person)
  • If feeling unwell when arriving at hospital, let staff know.

If you have a pregnancy-related issue or concern and symptoms of possible COVID-19, please:

  • Call your LMC/Community Midwife first, or Birthing Suite on 04 5697535.
  • Please do not come to the hospital, or your clinic appointment without contacting us first. You may be advised to stay at home.

Spread

The virus is spread through the air (by droplets) through coughing, sneezing and close personal contact with others who are infected (even if they feel well). It can also spread by touching or shaking hands; touching an object or surface with infected droplets (such as door handles, surfaces, kitchen utensils etc.) or faeces (poo or pohehe), then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands. 

Pregnancy risks

COVID-19 does not appear to increase the risk of miscarriage.

Some cases of premature/early birth (before 37 weeks), have been seen worldwide. This could be because of early intervention from doctors in caring for a severely unwell mothers.

At this time, there is only small number of cases worldwide where babies have developed the virus after birth. Some transmission may have occurred immediately after birth. Because of this it is difficult to confirm whether the COVID-19 virus can be passed to your baby during pregnancy.

It is important that you continue to stay well during your pregnancy, to reduce risk of contracting COVID-19. Flu and whooping cough vaccinations in pregnancy are recommended. Ask your maternity provider, LMC/Community Midwife if you are suitable. 

Pregnant people from 28 weeks’ gestation onwards, or earlier if other medical issues

Pregnant women in their third trimester (from 28 weeks’ gestation) should take extra precautions and keep themselves well at a time when the growing baby means higher oxygen demands on the mother. If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant you should take extra care to avoid COVID-19.

If you are working, you should discuss and agree with your employer a plan to ensure you’re able to do your job safely, particularly during your last trimester. It is recommended that women in their third trimester not work where there is a high risk of being exposed to COVID-19, such as some healthcare settings.

Advice can be found on the Ministry of Health Covid-19 website workplace advice during pregnancy.

 

Breastfeeding

It is safe to breastfeed, even if you or your baby has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. It is recommended that you wash your hands before and after breastfeeding, and wear a facemask whilst breastfeeding, to stop droplet transfer.

The Ministry of Health published new advice for parents on breastfeeding and COVID-19.

General advice

For current information around isolation, follow New Zealand Government advice oCOVID-19.govt.nz  

Remember to:

  • download and use the New Zealand Government Covid-19 Tracer app to help you to create a digital diary of places you visit by scanning the official QR codes
  • keep one metre from people you don’t live with or aren’t family/whānau and close friends
  • use your judgement about any risks to you or people you live with, your family/whānau and close friends who you have close physical contact with and remember the more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues
  • put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately
  • wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds)
  • don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs helps reduce the risk of spreading viruses like Covid-19
  • stay home if you feel unwell and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453
  • get your free flu vaccination to reduce your risk of influenza (flu vaccine reduces risk of influenza but is not effective against COVID-19).