COVID-19 and pregnancy
Cold symptoms and what to do
Work and what to do
Changes to expect at the clinic/hospital
If I get COVID what does this mean for my care
COVID AND PREGNANCY
What are the risks to pregnant patients and babies of COVID?
Currently pregnant patients do not seem to be more susceptible to becoming infected with COVID-19. However, according to the BCCDC “If you are infected with COVID-19 and are pregnant, you are three times more likely to end up in the intensive care unit (ICU) than those infected with COVID-19 who are not pregnant.”
Can I get the COVID-19 Vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding?
As the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine is starting, many of our patients are asking about receiving the vaccine in pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Pregnant women in BC have been identified as a priority population for mass immunization – pregnant women share the same risk of ICU hospitalization from COVID-19 as a person 50-59 years old with COVID-19.
Pregnant people born 2009 or earlier (12+) can get vaccinated now. To book an appointment, call the provincial Get Vaccinated number at 1-833-838-2323. It is important to also register with Get Vaccinated to ensure you receive an invitation to book your second dose at the appropriate time.
For further, up-to-date information about the COVID-19 Vaccine in pregnancy, visit our COVID-19 Resources Page. After reviewing this information, please contact us if you have additional questions or want to discuss this further.
COLD SYMPTOMS AND WHAT TO DO
I have cold symptoms! What do I do?
- Stay home! Most people with COVID will not need medical attention and can safely stay at home with their symptoms. This prevents the spread of your illness.
- Please self-isolate at home for 10 days from symptoms onset.
- If you’re unsure whether your symptoms warrant medical attention please check out the Self assessment tool.
- Recent recommendations now advise that anyone with cold symptoms is eligible for COVID-19 testing. For information regarding booking a test visit the Island Health Symptoms and Testing resource.
Do I need a note to be off because of my cold?
- Your employer should not require a note based on current BC recommendations at this time. If you are experiencing difficulties with your employer please refer them to this link.
Is it COVID? Shouldn’t I be tested?
- Recommendations have recently changed and now it is advised to test ANY individual with possible symptoms of COVID (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, or loss of appetite)
- If you have any of the above symptoms please call the Island Health Symptoms and Testing line (1-844-901-8442) to arrange a COVID swab. To help us continue to coordinate your care, Cowichan Maternity Clinic will also need to be notified. Please call us to inform us of your testing appointment and any results.
When do I need to self-isolate?
- For up-to-date information on how and when to self-isolate, visit the BCCDC’s How to self-isolate.
I think I need to be seen in the hospital about pregnancy or my baby but I have a cold. What do I do?
- Call ahead if you can! This allows us to prepare to see you safely. We will also assess whether you need to come in or whether we can possibly take care of you via the phone only.
- If this is during the day please call our clinic (250-737-2066).
- If it’s after hours please call the ward (250-737-2030 ext 44224).
- Rest assured, regardless of any cold symptoms we will always see you in person if we think you need to be seen in person. We would never do only a telephone visit if we thought this would impact our care for you.
I have a cold and I have a routine ultrasound or NST (listening to your baby’s heart on the maternity ward)? Shouldn’t I be self-isolating, what do I do?
- Call us! We will help you figure it out. If it is routine we may be able to reschedule.
WORK AND WHAT TO DO
Should I be off work because of the pandemic? Is it safe to work?
- If you have ANY cold symptoms, self isolate at home and please call our clinic or your GP to arrange to get a COVID test. You should NOT be at work if you have any cold or flu symptoms.
- At this time best evidence says that you are not at any increased risk of getting a COVID19 infection because you are pregnant.
- If you are well and unsure regarding work your situation will be different depending on your work – please call us and we can discuss your particular situation.
Should other members of my family be off work to keep me safe?
- Your family does not need to be off work specifically because you are pregnant. At this time we would recommend everyone take general precautions and wherever possible work from home, practice good hand hygiene, and social distancing. The recommendations around different workplaces are constantly changing and you should follow the most recent information from our public health offices.
- Your close contacts being vaccinated will also help reduce your risk.
CHANGES TO EXPECT AT THE CLINIC/HOSPITAL
Can I still have my family at the labour?
- In order to protect our patients and staff, it is now hospital policy that patients in labour can only have two support people. To try to reduce the number of people on the labour ward, this must be the same support people for the whole labour.
- We recognize that limiting support people is extremely difficult. This policy is island-wide and is designed to keep everyone safe
Who can visit at the hospital after my baby is born?
- At this time hospital policy is limiting visitors to one person per day, preferably the same person each day, to limit flow through the hospital.
- This person cannot have any cold symptoms or be unwell. They will only be allowed to leave and return to the hospital once per day in order to limit traffic on and off the ward. If your support person happens to smoke please be aware they will have bring their own nicotine replacement if needed.
- At this time you will not be able to keep anything in the communal fridge. However you are welcome to bring in a cooler if you would like. Meals through the hospital will be provided to both you and your support person.
Who can visit after my baby is born when we are home?
- We highly recommend creating a “cocoon” and limiting visitors as much as possible to only key supports. However, we also recognize having a newborn baby at home can be extremely stressful and only you can decide what the right balance is for you.
- We would suggest the general principles of self-isolation and social distancing as much as possible. Consider use of video chatting and phone to stay in touch.
- Although we advise restricting all visitors, if outside support is necessary we recommend:
- Excellent hand-hygiene for all visitors
- Minimal number of visitors (particularly at one time)
- ABSOLUTELY no visitors with any cold/flu symptoms or sick contacts or who have travelled in the last 14 days or have had contact with a positive case.
Will I still have my ultrasound appointments?
- Currently, obstetrical ultrasound appointments are still happening as they are considered essential. Please be aware you will not be able to bring anyone in with you to these appointments.
- If you have any cold symptoms before your appointment please call us.
IF I GET COVID WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY CARE
What if I have cold symptoms or COVID during my delivery?
- If you are actively sick with cold symptoms at the time of delivery or any time in your pregnancy we will still be able to care for you. Expect staff to be wearing protective equipment but otherwise we will strive to take excellent care of you and your baby. We are currently actively planning so we can do this safely.
- If you go into labour we would immediately do a swab. The team caring for you would continue to wear protective infection control equipment until this swab result was back and we know whether you have a cold or COVID.
Can I breastfeed if I get COVID?
- Yes. Guidelines recommend still breastfeeding using good hand washing. If you do have a positive COVID swab or have cold/flu symptoms, the recommendation is to wear a mask and use good hand washing with any infant care including breast feeding.
Will I be separated from my baby if I get COVID?
- Guidelines at this time do not recommend separating mom and baby at delivery if mom has a COVID infection. We would recommend good handwashing and using a mask if you have proven COVID.
- We would still recommend practices such as skin-to-skin contact (with mom wearing a mask and after having washed hands)