The coronavirus lockdown has been tough on pregnant women as they are advised to stay away from crowded places. Picture: Tracey Adams / African News Agency (ANA)
The coronavirus lockdown has been tough on pregnant women as they are advised to stay away from crowded places. Picture: Tracey Adams / African News Agency (ANA)

Trying time for pregnant women scared of contracting coronavirus

By Amber Court Time of article published Apr 5, 2020

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Cape Town – The past few weeks of Carla Wichman-Wedel’s pregnancy have been nerve-racking.

She is 37 weeks' pregnant and is due on April 15, within the 21-day national lockdown.

She is scheduled for a Caesarean section at Mediclinic Constantiaberg. She is expecting a girl and already has a name, Charly-May.

The 38-year-old said she was in isolation since March 16. But had a scare as her husband is a teacher and one of his pupils’ parents tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I barely left the house,” she said.

Wichman-Wedel told Weekend Argus it was an emotional roller-coaster.

“If I get sick I won’t be able to take certain medication. When this all broke out I was really anxious.”

Visitation restrictions at hospitals put a bit of a damper on this happy family event.

Wichman-Wedel was even more concerned for her unborn child and the risk of exposure to the virus.

Pregnant women should consult with their doctors and midwives to ensure the continuity of care during this period, said Howard Manyonga, an obstetrician and head of The Birthing Team, private maternity care provider for women without medical aid.

Manyonga said it was not known if pregnant women were at a greater risk of getting sick from the coronavirus.

“They experience changes in their bodies that may increase the risk of some infections.”

Obstetric and antenatal care, known to improve pregnancy outcomes and the overall health of newborns, were considered essential services, said Manyonga.

“We urge women who are pregnant to consult with their doctors and midwives to ensure the continuity of care during this period,” he said.

The company is working closely with a private hospital group to launch a team in Cape Town.

Angie Manyuha is a midwife for The Birthing Team at Netcare Femina in Pretoria. She has been practising as a midwife for 19 years.

“They need to carry on taking their prescribed vitamins and iron tablets.

“Iron is a key mineral that boosts energy levels and increases resistance to stress, infection and disease,” said Manyuha.

She said expectant mothers should restrict their visits to public spaces such as the grocery store or pharmacy.

“We advise pregnant women to stay at home as much as possible during this period,” she said.

The Western Cape department of health implemented various measures at hospitals to ensure no congestion, thus reducing the risk of spread of the coronavirus. It includes newborns, according to Mark van der Heever, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Health.

Restrictions put in place include one birth companion allowed, partners and companions are discouraged during antenatal and postnatal visits.

Expecting mothers who are concerned they may have contracted coronavirus can call 08000 29999.

Weekend Argus

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