The UAE can expect more than 83,000 births amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a Unicef report.
Medical experts have urged expectant mothers to stay calm as the country is well-prepared to take care of them and their newborns.
The Unicef estimated this number of births in the nine months since the pandemic declaration on March 11.
“Under the guidance and directions of the health authorities in the UAE and the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, the country’s hospitals are capable of ensuring the best antenatal and childbirth care,” said Dr Sadoon Sadoon, chief medical officer and consultant for obstetrics and gynaecology, Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women and Children in Abu Dhabi.
“I understand concerns of pregnant women due to the fact that they are at same risk of getting the infection. However, by taking simple precautionary measures, including hand hygiene, avoiding contact with other people with symptoms and staying at home, they can protect themselves from getting infected.”
Can a mother pass the virus to unborn child?
Dr Sadoon said there are no scientific studies that prove that the virus can get transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy and delivery.
“In case you become infected during pregnancy, any treatment given during that period is completely safe and doesn’t affect you or the baby. In addition, there is no evidence that this virus can be transmitted to your baby either during pregnancy or delivery. In case you become infected during or around the time of delivery, the hospital team will take all the precautionary measures to prevent the transmission of the disease to the newborn upon delivery and after. There are also specific isolated operation theatres, labour rooms and patient rooms for the infected. All women will be provided with awareness, counselling and medical care.”
Can the virus be transmitted through breast milk?
Dr Sadoon noted that till date there was no evidence that virus could be transmitted through breast milk. “Mothers could continue providing their babies with breast milk. However, very strict measures should be taken with the babies in case the breastfeeding mother is infected. The mother would need to express the milk, and have the father or any other family member give it to the baby through the bottle. The mother will need to wear a face mask throughout the process of expressing the milk as well as gloves and to avoid sneezing or coughing near the breast milk pump or the bottles. The mother will also be fully isolated from the baby during the period of her infection.”
Mariano Gonzalez, hospital CEO, said numerous precautionary measures are already in place, including a pre-screening tent, tele-consultation services, home visit service for postnatal and newborn care, vaccinations and paediatrics, and home delivery of medicines.