The Malta Independent 3 June 2020, Wednesday

Mater Dei Hospital sets up separate area to handle pregnant women with Coronavirus

Giulia Magri Saturday, 4 April 2020, 07:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Central Delivery Suite at Mater Dei Hospital is well prepared and has a section for pregnant mothers with COVID-19, another for those in quarantine and another for other pregnant women, to safeguard the safety of mothers, babies and staff, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Mater Dei Hospital Prof Yves Muscat Baron told The Malta Independent.

On Friday, Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci announced that out of the seven patients that tested positive for COVID-19, one is an Italian woman who was to give birth. The 36-year-old was swabbed during routine testing (the baby was later delivered by caesarean section).

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Last month the government had imposed a lockdown for people older than 65, people with chronic illnesses and pregnant women as a preventative measure against the spread of COVID-19.

Muscat Baron explained that everything is being prepared for the pregnant woman who has been tested positive for COVID-19. “We are planning everything, from her transport to the hospital, where she will be staying and who will be taking care of her,” he said. He said that the mother will be in a COVID-19 section within the ward before and after the caesarean is performed and she will be looked after by a whole team of professionals, consultants from the Infectious Disease Unit and obstetricians.

All pregnant women are swabbed upon entering the delivery suite and that the medical staff are provided with the necessary safety gear.

“We have specialised equipment for our team, specialised masks and protective gowns, which the midwives and doctors are being trained on how to put on and take off, so that they do not get infected. We have a delivery theatre for those patients with covid-19 who wish to perform a caesarean and a separate one for those who wish to have an ordinary delivery and another for those women in quarantine. We are preparing for any scenario,” said Muscat Baron.

He said that another measure to protect postpartum women is that there is a ban on family members and relatives visiting the mother and baby.  Those mothers tested positive for covid-19 will stay at hospital afterwards, to ensure that they do not suffer from any complications, either from the birth itself or the virus.

Hospital is the safest place to give birth

Muscat Baron said that he is aware that some families and mothers expecting are worried about coming to the hospital as they fear they might come into contact with the virus. “We understand that women are already anxious to give birth, but it is dangerous to come to hospital at the very last minute,” he said. He already had two cases of women in labour coming to the hospital at the very last minute, one mother fully dilated and in a lot of pain.

 “The hospital is well prepared and the mother should come for her check-ups and not leave it until the last minute if she is experiencing contractions. We urge women to come to the hospital and to not perform a home birth either, once again because the hospital is the safest place,” appealed Muscat Baron.

He also assured that the virus cannot be transmitted from mother to baby and that a recently published study shows that the baby could be born with particular antibodies against the virus.

“I don’t believe Malta will go down the road of Italy and Spain. We have an advantage as we are learning from other countries, and the key to tackling such problems is organisation. Everyone is trained, we have the protective equipment and we are prepared.”

 

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