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By Karabo Motsiri Mokoena

Writer. Conversationalist. South African Mommy Blogger,Content Producer

All your pregnancy and covid-19 FAQs answered by Dr. Zende

There is a lot of work that is going on in the public space as well regarding precautions in keeping mom and baby safe.

We had the honour of having a live char with our resident Obstetrician & Gynaecologist: Dr Mpume Zende who answered some of the most important questions pregnant mommies and their partners and relatives are asking during this time. You can also watch the full video below.

A lot of hospitals aren’t allowing partners in the labour ward during birth now, how does one stay relaxed and remain calm without that support you looked so forward to?

Scientifically, it is proven that having a birthing partner in the room helps women through the labouring process.

It is also important to note that midwives, obstetricians, and gynaecologists are trained professionals and are also capable of offering that support to a birthing mother. So labouring women should never feel like they are doing it alone. A familiar face like a partner, or a relative always does the trick, but the health system has to practice precaution first.

At the moment, the safety of our patients comes first. Secondly, the safety of healthcare workers is a priority. If the hospitals allow a covid-19 positive person in, then the whole ward gets ill, and the ward would have to be closed/quarantined.

Covid-19 is a social disease, and the fact that you cant tell when someone has it makes it so dangerous. Pregnant women who were diagnosed with covid-19 have been asymptomatic. This is why we explain to our patients the reasoning behind the new stringent measures that are put in place to protect them, their babies, and the healthcare workers.

How can we manage anxiety during this time in pregnancy, and how this affects pregnancy?

As an obstetrician, I must create good relationships with my patients. This way, they are comfortable to ask me questions, even at awkward times of the day because women are pregnant for 24 hours. I find that when people’s questions and concerns are addressed, they feel less anxious. So, ask as many questions as possible and make sure that you know what to expect.

I’m due in September and having my baby in a public hospital. How can I be sure that my baby is safe when out of my sight?

There is a lot of work that is going on in the public space as well regarding precautions in keeping mom and baby safe. So, maybe not completely the same, but women will also be kept safe at all times. So they should also be assured that they will not be receiving substandard treatment.

When you are in a maternity ward, be rest assured that everyone in there with you has been tested and hygiene protocols are put in place to ensure that this is maintained.

Every healthcare worker and patient is subjected to tests. Pregnant moms are required to do two tests sometimes.

What extra precautions have hospitals put in place when it comes to newborn care that is in line with the regulations?

-Testing everyone that comes into the hospital, including moms and their partners

-Limiting and regulating visiting hours

-Monitoring that there are not too many people in and out of the hospital

-Practicing good hygiene and wearing masks

Does medical aid pay for a covid-19 test?

The best way is to call your service provider and ask them before running the tests. Some medical aids only pay for it if the test comes back positive.

Medical aids are also figuring it out as they go, so it is better to discuss these concerns with them beforehand. They will work differently based on the provider and the plans.

Can I insist on having my baby with me from the time he or she is born?

Babies can still be in the room with mom, and even covid-19 positive moms are encouraged to continue breastfeeding and practicing skin-to-skin as this is essential to the wellbeing of the baby.

Can I still stay in the hospital after my baby’s birth?

Yes, you can. The precautions put in place are meant to protect the patients as they enter the hospital. Once they are inside, they should know that they are safe. We will not send moms and babies home prematurely, compromising their health and wellbeing.

So women that have given birth via a c-section will remain in the hospital for the recommended 4 days.

What do I do if my gynae closes down during the lockdown?

Some doctors have closed down because they are taking extra precautions. Some are old and some might have underlying conditions.
The best thing right now for healthcare professionals is to offer accessibility and address patient’s concerns during this time. If your gynae can do that then it is great and you can still maintain that relationship.

Can I change my gynae if I am in the late stages of my pregnancy?

Absolutely. You can change your gynae during lockdown if they close their practise?

Is this important to access antenatal classes right now?

Unfortunately, antenatal classes fall into the exercise category and since all gyms had to close, so do these classes. But it advisable to access some online material that can help you.

Should one go for a natural vaginal delivery or a c-section during this pandemic?

Only an obstetric complication will warrant the use of one method over the other. Women can still elect their birthing options, but not based on covid-19. Pregnant women are mostly asymptomatic, but even they can give birth vaginally.

In a case of coronavirus positive mom who is ill, showing symptoms and having complications, particularly around the lung area, they cannot give birth vaginally.



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