What pregnant women must know about coronavirus
Pregnant women have been told to avoid all non-essential overseas travel, practise social distancing and to keep away from anyone coughing or sneezing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Royal Australian College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians (RANZCOG) has issued new advice on preventive measures expectant women can take to avoid COVID-19 as the bug rapidly spreads.
There has been at least 450 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Australia and five deaths.
RANZCOG said pregnant women with COVID-19 did not appear to be any more unwell than those in the general population who developed the infection.
"It is expected the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu-like symptoms," RANZCOG said.
The organisation added that for women who were trying to conceive or who were in the early stages of pregnancy, there was "no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage with COVID-19.
"Furthermore, there is also no evidence that the virus can pass to your developing baby while you are pregnant. There is also no evidence that the virus will cause abnormalities in your baby," it said.
Women who breastfeed their babies should also continue to do so, according to RANZCOG.
While some babies born to women with symptoms of the coronavirus in China has been born prematurely, it was not yet clear whether coronavirus was to blame.
"It is unclear whether coronavirus was the causative factor, or the doctors made the decision for the baby to be born early because the woman was unwell," it said.
"Newborn babies and infants do not appear to be at increased risk of complications from the infection."
RANZCOG did concede that because COVID-19 had only recently emerged, the impact of the virus on pregnant women and their babies was limited.
It said pregnancy advice was based on leanings from influenza infection and the medical response to the SARS epidemic in 2003.
RANZCOG said pregnant women should wash their hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
They should also avoid anyone coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching their face.
Social distancing and reducing exposure to the general public should also be practised, and non-essential overseas travel avoided, RANZCOG said.
It said if you developed cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore through or difficulty breathing to arrange an urgent medical review at a fever clinic, with your GP or at an emergency department.
"If you have any of these symptoms, or are required to self-isolate or are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should notify your healthcare provider to reschedule or delay your appointment," RANZCOG said.
"This will enable you to continue to receive antenatal or post-natal care and reduce the risk to other pregnant patients or health workers."
It said pregnant women should priorities themselves and look after their emotional and physical health.