What to expect if you’re pregnant and due to give birth in South Africa during lockdown.
A key component in the management of any infectious disease outbreak includes care of the most-at-risk and vulnerable populations. Although the clinical course and effect of COVID-19 amongst mothers and their newborns in South Africa remains to be described, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, newborns and young children have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown and regulations issued when COVID-19 was declared a national disaster.
Many hospitals now have limited lodger facilities for mothers with hospitalised babies. To limit the risk of exposure to the virus, many facilities have confined the visiting times for mothers to once a day or less, and family visits for hospitalised mother-baby pairs are also restricted. Check directly with your hospital before to confirm visiting hours, depending on high-risk areas these may differentiate.
Direct breastfeeding, as well as skin-to-skin contact, have innumerable lifesaving benefits for hospitalised and non-hospitalised babies. Breastfeeding is particularly effective against infectious diseases because it strengthens the immune system by directly transferring antibodies from the mother. There is no evidence to show that COVID-19 is transmitted through breastmilk even if the mother has tested positive for the virus, according to the ADSA and SACLC.
COVID-19 Maternal & Newborn Care Guidelines released by the National Department of Health includes:
For more about the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) visit: https://www.samrc.ac.za.