Coronavirus (COVID-19), Charity Update, Miscarriage and Pregnancy…Guidance and Advice – The Mariposa Trust (1st April 2020)
The UK is currently in lockdown, as is 1/3 of the world’s population due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This has and will have an effect on the ‘Maternity Services’ provided by the NHS both now, and for months to come, and it is important to be aware of current protocol, as well as consider expert advice if you are currently considering trying to conceive. We hope that the following information will help to relieve fears and anxiety that you might be feeling as well as allow you to plan and make informed decisions.
The NHS are currently focussed on the care and treatment of patients with COVID-19, meaning that they have scaled back the care, treatment and operations that they would normally offer on a day-to-day basis. As part of this staff are being reassigned, and facilities adapted to meet the short and long-term needs that the UK will experience in the coming weeks and months. Maternity services (including Early Pregnancy Assessment Units (EPAU’s)) are not exempt from this, and so the care being offered may look different to care you have previously received or be expecting to receive.
What is COVID-19
Firstly, it is not called COVID-19 because there are 18 other COVID virus’s that have come before, but because it is a type of Coronavirus that started affecting people in 2019. Coronavirus is a general term for many virus’ that cause mild illness, often colds and coughs, but which can cause more significant health issues. Previous ones that have caused significant illness and loss of life include SARS-Cov in 2002 and MERS-Cov in 2012, both of which were infections that were passed from animal to human, as is COVID-19.
The following links are from Public Health England, and form the current recommendations:
- Guidance on Social Distancing
- Guidance for Individuals and Households with possible Coronavirus Infections
The Effect of COVID-19 on Hospitals
Hospitals across the UK are limiting the access of people coming in to hospitals in the aim of:
- Reducing the spread of COVID-19 within the hospital
- Minimising the risk of contracting the virus when people go to the hospital
- Not overloading an already stretched system, especially where staff numbers are greatly reduced
**If however, you are currently pregnant or are experiencing a miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy, and you require medical attention for severe pain, heavy bleeding or for other acute symptoms or you believe you may be suffering an ectopic pregnancy, you will still be able to be seen and assessed either by A&E or by a specialist team at the hospital.
Scans and Check-ups
Many hospitals are already reducing the number of scans they are doing, as well as only allowing the mother to attend the scan (reducing the number of people coming in to the hospitals), and as such there will likely be delays in the scanning schedule you may be expecting. In a similar way, NHS staff are being redeployed, and so check-ups may also be affected. If you have any concerns, please contact your GP or Midwife, and they will be able to advise you.
Management of a Miscarriage
Due to the scaling back of non-emergency procedures nationally, especially those involving General Anaesthetic, if you have suffered a missed or incomplete miscarriage, an embryonic pregnancy or ‘blighted ovum’, you will probably be offered natural or medical management of your miscarriage at home.
If you are currently pregnant, this may be an extremely scary time.
COVID-19 is a new and largely unknown virus, and until the 26th March no confirmed evidence that the virus can pass to your baby while you are pregnant (vertical transmission) had been reported, however one case from Wuhan, China has given some evidence that it may have happened. It is considered unlikely that the virus can cause harm to your baby. It is also considered unlikely that if you have the virus, it would cause abnormalities in your baby and none have been observed currently. There is also no evidence to suggest that there is an increased risk of miscarriage.
The Government and NHS have issued guidance for people who are currently pregnant, placing them in the ‘Vulnerable’ category. This is not because there is a confirmed risk to people who are pregnant, however it has been known that in a small number of women, pregnancy can alter how severe viral infections are handled by the body. The government are trying to limit the risk for anyone who is pregnant, as there is so little known and understood about the COVID-19 virus, so have placed pregnant women in this category and advised them to take extra care. Please see the current advice from the RCOG below.
If you need urgent advice, please call your EPAU and they will still be able to assist you.
Trying to Conceive
There has been wide spread media speculation about an increased baby boom caused by the lockdown, however current guidance is that due to so little being known about the COVID-19 virus, that people may choose to wait until the pandemic is over before trying to conceive (however this is a deeply personal decision, and only something you can decide). In addition, to further reduce the burden on the NHS, and with the scaling back of Maternity Services, people may also choose to wait.
Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG)
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has general up to date information and guidance on pregnancy and Coronavirus at www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/.
More information can be found on the Saying Goodbye Website, along with advice, video’s, resources and much more.
**Due to the lockdown, the Church of England and Church of Ireland have postponed services from taking place, which means we are having to postpone some of the Saying Goodbye services which were due to take place in May, June and July, including Belfast, Sunderland, Derby, Oxford and Manchester, but keep checking the website for up to date information, as we will be guided by Government advice. We will add new dates for postponed services as soon as we have them.
The charity will continue to provide a wide range of support via the website, its social media channels on Facebook www.facebook.com/sayinggoodbyeuk, on Twitter www.twitter.com/Sayinggoodbyeuk and the charities CEO Zoe Clark-Coates and the SG team are providing a range of Instagram and Facebook Live sessions with a range of Doctors, OBGYN’s, Psychologists and other experts. For more information you can see more at www.instagram.com/zoeadelle and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zoeadelle1
In addition, the charity continues to provide support via its ‘Befriending Service’, and this team can be contacted at [email protected]
We hope that you remain safe and well, please follow all current NHS guidance and please contact us if you need any information or advice.