Pregnant and scared

2020-04-27 13:00
Nokuthula Mncwabe.

Nokuthula Mncwabe. (Moeketsi Mamane)

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The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown just about everything into uncertainty, leaving many pregnant women in a panic spiral.

With their due dates fast approaching, many pregnant women are wondering what will happen if they go into labour during the national lockdown, where they will get baby clothes and whether their partners will be allowed to be with them during labour.

Earlier this month, the government clarified that baby clothes and essentials are available for sale during the lockdown. These includes blankets, towels and other essential accessories for new-borns, infants and toddlers up to 36 months old, the Department of Trade and Industry said.

Despite this, many expectant mothers are still having difficulties in ensuring that they have everything they  need for the birth of their babies.

A 26-year-old woman, who is eight months pregnant, told Weekend Witness that her biggest concern was the safety of her unborn child as she still has to go to work. “I have to be extremely vigilant during this time. I work in the dental field and this is the most highly infectious area as we deal with bodily fluids. We try by all means to keep to the infection control measures but the question is can we be too careful. This is truly a difficult time. I pray everyday that God keeps my baby and I safe,” said the woman, who asked not to be named.

In ensuring that she has all she needs for the birth, which will in all likelihood take place during high lockdown regulations, she said she has had difficulties buying ahead as many stores did not have winter clothes as yet.

She said she was told that stores were having difficulties receiving stock.

She has also not had the opportunity to buy things for her hospital bag.

“It’s hard to buy ahead when pregnant because you are not sure how big you will get during the course of the pregnancy. My clothes hardly fit but what can I do, I need to make it work.

“I also hope during labour they will allow one support person to be with me. As a first-time mother I’m nervous and this pandemic is making me even more anxious and I need a support person who will keep me calm during labour.”

The woman feels that essential pregnant workers are not being prioritised.

“When pregnant you are more prone to infections, yet we are required to work like nothing is going on. Maybe the government should allow pregnant women to stay home during this lockdown just for the safety of our unborn babies.”

Nokuthula Mncwabe (20), who is seven months pregnant, is also anxious and also sad she would miss out on her baby shower. “I constantly experience flu-like symptoms and I was told that this comes with pregnancy, but because of this pandemic I just didn’t know if it was the pregnancy sickness or coronavirus.

“I went to Scottsville clinic last week and when I told them my symptoms they were also worried but after the doctor examined me, he reassured me that my baby and I were perfectly healthy.”

Mcwabe said her friends told her that they had cancelled her baby shower because of the lockdown.

“I was really looking forward to the baby shower and having a pregnancy outdoor photoshoot, but now I can’t do all of that. Also, I would really like to take walks outside as being stuck indoors all day is depressing,” she said.

Thandeka Simamane (34) from Vryheid, who is six months pregnant, said she is also still working.

“It’s scary because I work in customer service and I am in constant contact with other people. I panic because I know that when you’re pregnant you can’t even take flu medication, so you have to be extra careful.”

pregnancy and covid-19

Thandeka Simamane.

All the expectant mothers who spoke to Weekend Witness said when going to the clinic or their doctor’s appointment, they are always screened for Covid-19.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pregnancy and covid-19
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