June 07, 2020

Corona Virus (Covid 19) and Childbearing

What is the evidence?

Novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a new strain of coronavirus which causes Covid-19. Covid-19 was first identified in Wuhan City in China towards the end of 2019. Covid-19 can cause either no symptoms or can range from mild to severe upper respiratory tract illness. Common symptoms of Covid-19 are cough, fever, headache and loss of taste. Pneumonia can occur in the most advanced cases. Most people who are positive for Covid-19 have acquired the virus as a result from human to human transmission. This usually occurs through close contact with an infected person or from contaminated surfaces (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, RCOG, United Kingdom, June 2020).

According to recent evidence, pregnant women do not appear to be more likely to acquire Covid-19 than the general population. Pregnancy however can alter a woman’s immune system and response to viral infections. There is currently no evidence to suggest that pregnant women who are Covid-19 positive, will be any more likely to require admission to an intensive care unit than a person who is not pregnant. Most pregnant women if infected with Covid-19 will have only mild or moderate symptoms of the virus (RCOG, UK, 2020).

Many pregnant women are concerned that if they are infected with Covid-19 that their baby will also acquire the virus. Up to date evidence suggests that transmission during pregnancy is possible however according to a recent systematic review of twenty four pregnant women with Covid-19, there was no evidence of Covid-19 infection within placenta, amniotic fluid, cord blood or breast milk samples (Martins-Filho PR et al, 2020).

What can I do to help prevent myself or my baby from acquiring Covid-19?

According to the World Health Organisation (2020), the main ways of protecting yourself and others from the Covid-19 virus are:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 – 30 seconds and/or use an alcohol based sanitiser as this may help to eradicate the virus if it is on your hands.
  • Maintain a distance of at least one metre between yourself and others. This is because when someone coughs, sneezes or speaks, they may spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. To assist in reducing the chance of inhaling the virus, wear a hospital grade mask when out in public.
  • Avoid going into any crowded places. Keep your baby at home unless you are going for a physically distanced walk (ensure in the Summer months, your baby is lightly dressed, well hydrated and not placed in direct sunlight) or you have a clinic or hospital appointment.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose as from this the virus can enter your body if your hands are contaminated.
  • Make sure you and the people around you practice good respiratory hygiene, by coughing or sneezing into a tissue and disposing of the tissue immediately into a closed bin. Ensure you wash your hands as above straight after.
  • If you have any symptoms, it is recommended you self-isolate. If you or your baby are experiencing a cough, fever or difficulty breathing, you will need to seek urgent medical attention. Contact your health care provider via telephone and they will instruct you of what you need to do, according to the latest guidelines from their governing health authority.
  • If you have Covid-19 you are still able to breastfeed, however you will need to follow the precautions as above, wear a mask when you are around your baby and clean and disinfect all surfaces you have touched.

Are you at home pregnant or with a new baby and feel isolated?

If you are pregnant, it is important to continue accessing antenatal care with your Obstetrician and attending your scheduled appointments. At HealthBay Polyclinic we abide by very strict cleaning procedures which have been detailed by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). Our waiting areas have physically distanced chairs which are regularly cleaned and all clinical rooms are stringently sanitised after every patient. We undertake a deep industrial clean every evening after the clinic is closed.

Our team of six Midwives (all Dubai Health Authority registered) are on the other end of the telephone or email if help is required. The HealthBay Midwives are on duty from Saturday – Thursday from 8.30am until 5.30pm. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. If the Midwife on duty is busy seeing patients, she will call you or email you back as soon as possible.

We recommend in the first month of your baby’s life that you have at least weekly visits to our Well Baby Clinic, then every two weeks up until two months of age, then monthly. We see babies from birth up until eighteen months of age. Your first appointment is for one hour, where we ask for a detailed history of your birth, assist with breastfeeding/infant feeding, weigh and measure your baby and answer all of your questions. Our follow up appointments are for thirty minutes. We also administer vaccines as scheduled. Our Specialist Paediatricians are also available to review your baby as required. We recommend your baby is seen by a Paediatrician within the first one to two weeks of coming home from hospital. There is also a very important developmental and medical check which our Paediatricians /Family Medicine specialists can do for your baby at six weeks of age.

For additional support, we are offering regular Midwives Morning Teas online. This is a wonderful way to connect with other parents who are going through a similar situation as you. One of our friendly and approachable team will be there also to answer any questions you may have. We will recommence our very popular in person Midwives Morning Tea when we have been advised we can restart our group sessions by the DHA.

For further information about our Midwifery services or for appointments, please contact us via telephone: 800 4272 or email: midwives@healthbayclinic.com


Martins-Filho PR, Santos VS, Santos HP, Jr. To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? Lack of evidence on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in breastmilk of pregnant women with COVID-19. Rev Panam Salud Publica 2020;44:e59. doi: 10.26633/RPSP.2020.59.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, June 4th, 2020. Coronavirus (Covid-19) Infection in Pregnancy. Information for health care professionals. Version 10. https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2020-06-04-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-in-pregnancy.pdf (Accessed: 07.06.2020)

World Health Organisation, June 2020. Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) advice for the public. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public (Accessed: 07.06.2020). 

For further information about our Pediatric services or for appointments, please contact us via telephone: 800 4272 or email: info@healthbayclinic.com

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