Pregnant during the circuit breaker: Challenges Faced by Expectant Mothers

By the team at Speedoc,
May 11, 2020

Motherhood is a time of joy, excitement, and anticipation for most. But, the current COVID-19 pandemic has added anxiety to the mix for many expectant mothers. After all, as the virus rages across the world, our way of life has changed drastically, especially in Singapore. Even as the country cautiously starts to ease up on its circuit breaker measures, there are still restrictions in place, such as mandatory work-from-home for non-essential services and staggered entry into popular wet markets.

For pregnant mothers, these restrictions cause a lot of stress and uncertainty in what should be a happy time. In Singapore, hospitals are only allowing pregnant women admitted for delivery of babies to have one caregiver visiting at a time. New mothers are also struggling to find confinement nannies or domestic helpers to help with their newborns, with help from in-laws difficult to come by due to social distancing rules.

While these situations pose unique challenges to expectant or new mothers, one of the best ways to overcome them is to make sure we are informed and continue to keep ourselves healthy both physically and mentally.

Can mothers pass COVID-19 to newborns?

One of the biggest questions we’ve heard from expectant mothers is: if I contract COVID-19, will I be able to pass it on to my unborn baby?

The truth is, we do not know for sure. The evidence thus far suggests that the virus cannot be passed on from a mother to their baby during pregnancy or delivery. Several studies over the past few months have also shown how pregnant women have successfully given birth to healthy newborns. These newborns all tested negative for COVID-19, with the virus not being present in the mother’s breast milk, amniotic fluid, or the babies’ throats. However, in a separate study conducted in Wuhan, 3 newborns born to mothers with the virus were found to be infected, though it is not entirely clear if these infections were passed on from mother to child or they were infected only after birth.

The risks seem incredibly low that a mother would be able to pass on the virus to their newborn, but the safest thing to do is to protect against contracting the virus in the first place. Pregnant mothers should continue to take all the necessary precautionary measures such as practicing strict social distancing and washing your hands regularly.

Should pregnant mothers go to the clinic when sick?

Some mothers have expressed that they’re afraid of going to the clinic or hospital because they don’t want to risk any potential exposure to the virus, especially since they’re pregnant. This is understandable. However, it is important that you take care of your own health as it could affect your fetus as well. Instead of avoiding medical care, try opting for house-call doctor services or telemedicine services.

House-call doctors are essentially like going to a clinic, except that the doctor comes right to you. Having a doctor come to your home will help minimize any exposure you might have to the virus on public transport or at the clinic. If you’re unsure about letting anyone outside of your family enter your home, our doctors are available via video consultations as well. At Speedoc, all of our doctors are licensed with the Singapore Medical Council and are fully qualified to help you with your non-emergency medical needs. For breastfeeding mothers, we also offer treatments for mastitis and breast infections.

Please note that you should only consult with a house-call doctor for non-emergency medical symptoms such as headaches or gastric pains. If you are experiencing chest pains, dizziness, or other emergency symptoms, please call 995 immediately.

Is it safe to take medicines while pregnant or breast-feeding?

Yes, it is generally safe to take medicines while pregnant or breast-feeding, but not all. It is not advisable to self-medicate if you are unsure of the side effects of your medication on your fetus or your breast milk, as it could have adverse consequences. For example, you should not take blood-thinners like aspirin or even some types of acne medications.

If you are feeling unwell, it is best to seek medical advice on what sorts of medicine you can take. Our house-call doctors are able to advise on baby-safe and breastfeeding-safe medicines to use that will be effective in treating acute diseases.

What extra precautions can pregnant mothers take?

Pregnant mothers should take all the normal precautions advised by the WHO, as these are the best safeguards against contracting the virus. But, it is also crucial to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy. Too much stress can cause pregnant mothers to have a premature birth, which could affect the fetus’ health. If you are a mother worried about having an early labour, one way that might help is to get regular progesterone shots. Our doctors can help to administer this safely and conveniently in the comfort of your own home.

You can also take your mind off the virus by looking for online alternatives to antenatal services so you can better prepare for infant care. Some services are moving online to help new mothers navigate their pre- and post-natal care and provide mental and emotional support along the way.

Where should I go to vaccinate my baby?

In Singapore, vaccinations are required by law. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) offers a handy chart to give you an overview of what vaccinations your child will need by when. Polyclinics actually offer subsidised packages for childhood vaccinations, but as mentioned before, under the current conditions, it is understandable that parents might want to avoid clinics and hospitals wherever possible.

Instead, you can opt to have your baby’s vaccination done entirely at home with our baby vaccination package. Our doctors will carry out all the necessary vaccinations required by the HPB across your child’s first 18 months, so you can rest easy knowing that they will be well-protected. The package even includes unlimited telemedicine and email support!

Learn more about Speedoc

We are a health-tech company that provides a variety of services to make healthcare convenient and accessible to all, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. We offer services including telemedicine consultations, on-demand doctors and nurses, as well as childhood vaccination packages.

If you are interested in booking a consultation with our licensed medical care professionals, you can make an appointment by using our online system here, download our app on the App Store or Google Play Store, or contact our hotline at +65 8180 8948.