Reading Time: 3 minutes

In support of the community during the difficult situation that Malta is facing since the CoronaVirus reached our shores, Willingness has opened its facebook chat to the public. Dozens of individuals have reached out using the #COVID to our chat for 15-minute brief chats with our professionals for mental health support and general queries.

Dr Chiara Frendo-Balzan, our resident Gynaecologist has taken on the role of assisting expectant mothers and couples with their queries surrounding COVID-19. Due to the influx of questions, we have reached out to Dr Frendo-Balzan to collect the most frequently asked questions here in order to further support expectant parents with their queries

  • Am I more prone to COVID-19 because I am pregnant?

You are at the same amount of risk as anyone else to get this infection. If you keep to the hygiene advice, hand washing, not touching your face and keeping away from others, you will be lowering your risk of infection too.

  • If I were to test positive for COVID-19, would the baby be at risk?

So far we have no proof that the virus is passed to the baby during the pregnancy. As far as we know, the virus does not affect the pregnancy, does not harm the baby during the pregnancy and does not pass through the placenta. Just like you would get a common cold, it does not affect the baby.

  • Is the baby at risk during birth?

Once the baby is born there is a risk of being affected by COVID-19 just like everyone else.

  • Is it safe to be in contact with people who have not been abroad ?

The transmission will change and people will be at risk to contract the virus even from contact with those who have not been abroad. The advice is to keep good hand hygiene, and avoid being around people who are sick or displaying symptoms.

  • Should I limit contact with children?

We know that young children can carry the virus and not have symptoms. I would advise you to limit social contact with children as much as possible. Avoid anything unnecessary.

  • Should I limit contact with clients?

Ideally, you reschedule non-essential appointments to limit contact as much as possible. For essential appointments, it is important to take the necessary precautions.

  • Is Mater Dei safe?

In general in MDH, there are no crowds. At the moment, the hospital is very safe. I cannot say however how things will be in a few weeks. All staff are being screened and we are very prepared for every eventuality. Any COVID-19 cases will be separately taken  care of, so far we have none in the labour ward.

Do not be afraid to come if you need to. if your waters break, if you have pain that doesn’t go away, or if you have regular contractions (every 5 mins) you will need to come in. You can call 2545 5170 or 2545 5180 (labour ward) to inform them too

  • How do I keep myself from worrying?

Try to keep positive and follow information from reliable sources. Sometimes it is a good idea to simply switch off and disconnect from the media for a while, especially if you’re finding it to be overwhelming.

As a final note Dr Frendo-Balzan expressed that there really is no need to panic. Normal precautions are what is needed. Unfortunately the ones who struggle the most are the already sick patients and older people, not healthy pregnant ones, so there is no need to worry. As regarding the CoronaVirus, if you have chills, check your temperature. If it is more than 37.4 also inform the labour ward for advice, or contact your own gynaecologist. As usual, also keep an eye on your baby movements, this is NOT COVID-19 related, but general pregnancy advice.

N.B. These responses are correct on 16.03.2020 at 18:00, and are subject to updates.

Nicola Falzon is a psychology officer within the Willingness Team, delivering training and workshops on mental health, managing different services such as Sex Clinic Malta, and organising different events. Nicola is also involved in various projects related to sexuality.