• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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COVID-19 changing how expectant mothers get reproductive care

Pregnant Woman

Judith Eghosa a 35-year old pregnant woman stopped attending antenatal care at the hospital she registered, owing to the rising cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and fear of exposing herself and her fetus to the virus.

“This is my third child but we are in difficult times, and I can’t risk going to the hospital to complete my antenatal care because COVID-19 is real and can easily be contracted.

“Although I understand the relevance of antenatal care to survival of the baby but I will stay put till there is drop in number of cases”, she said.

As COVID-19 precautionary measures get tough to practice, expectant mothers no longer contact the hospital for Antenatal Care (ANC) due to fear of contracting the virus.

In response to control the spread of COVID-19, residents were advised to comply with the precautionary measures such as maintaining at least 2 metres distance from one another, use of facemasks, hand washing, good hygiene practices, among others.

Expectant mothers are now confronted with the challenge of complying with the COVID-19 precautionary measure, particularly observing physical distancing, thereby making it impossible for them to complete their care.

Prior to COVID-19 pandemic, women find it difficult to access quality and affordable reproductive healthcare but the pandemic has further widened the gap between the people and healthcare provision.

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Antenatal Care is the care expectant mothers receive from trained healthcare personnel when they visit healthcare facilities. Its key role in preventing early complications, maternal health problems in pregnancy, and preparing for safe childbirth can’t be overemphasized.

At the initial time, people were afraid to go to the hospital but after some time they started visiting again. I think the expectant mothers have pushed that fear behind them and they are attending clinic normally, says Catherine Eseine, Edo State chairman , National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM).

Catherine, who said attending the clinic has created an opportunity for pregnant women to get more information in controlling the spread of COVID-19, urged them to keep visiting the hospital and maintain good hygiene.

According to her, every woman should visit the ANC at least five times but it also depends on the mother’s condition. There are reasons why she should go there more frequently.

“Even in antenatal clinic, the women are encouraged that it COVID-19 doesn’t disturb them from breastfeeding so long as the woman is healthy.

“For any woman that is nursing a baby all she needs is adequate education; frequent hand washing before they handle their babies. The baby is always in close contact with the mother and you can’t separate that contact. So, it’s just for her to be extra cautious and take hygienic steps so that she will not expose her baby.

“There is no way you can wear a facemask on a newborn. So the best thing is to prevent taking that baby to public spaces. That exposure should be reduced,” she added.