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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus called the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This virus spreads from person to person mainly via close contact and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 infection are fever, cough or a loss or change to your normal sense of smell or taste. More severe symptoms of infection include shortness of breath and confusion. However, some may not experience any symptoms at all (asymptomatic infection).
As there is currently no available vaccine yet for the prevention of COVID-19 disease, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Steps that you can take to achieve this include:
From the existing medical knowledge, it does not appear that pregnant women are at a higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19 compared to the non-pregnant population.
Testing for COVID-19 infection is done via a nasopharyngeal swab polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that looks for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Currently, there are no specific vaccines or medications for COVID-19 infection, although various treatments are being researched.
Management of COVID-19 infection in pregnancy involves admission to hospital under the care of a multi-disciplinary team for close monitoring of both mother and baby. Investigations in the form of blood tests and imaging tests may be performed. Treatment of COVID-19 is supportive, for example, providing oxygen therapy if required, administering medications to relieve symptoms, and managing other complications such as bacterial infections. Decisions surrounding timing of delivery are made together with obstetricians (specialists who look after pregnant mothers) and neonatologists (specialists who look after babies) such that the interests of both you and your baby are considered together.