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It is probably every pregnant woman’s nightmare right now: catching covid-19 during your pregnancy. PM tells us her story on how she coped with the symptoms of the deadly virus whilst being 33 weeks pregnant.

How it all started?

Thirty three weeks pregnant with my second child in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic (March 2020) and my husband came home from work and told me one of his colleagues had developed a fever at the end of the day. Panic set in for me as I had been so careful to not leave the house and effectively ‘shield’ myself and my 24 month old toddler from everyone.

Sure enough, a couple of days later my husband started getting muscle aches and pains and the fever came soon after. Although he was fine in himself, Alhamdullilah, and his symptoms were mild, he even managed clearing the garden at one point and continued to work from home throughout.

For me, contracting COVID-19 whilst pregnant was definitely scarier and more of a challenge.

How I felt?

About a week after my husband developed symptoms (he had been self-isolating in our guest room), I noticed that I was developing an awful sinus headache – not one of the typical COVID-19 symptoms. At this point, I put it down to being overtired from having been flying solo with my toddler whilst heavily pregnant for the previous week, but that night my temperature soared and I felt really unwell. This continued on and off for a couple of weeks or so until I finally managed to shake the fever. There were moments where I felt short of breath and this was scary knowing that my baby was relying on me to grow and be safe.

Alhamdulillah, my symptoms were not extensive enough for me be hospitalised, I did however lose my sense of smell and taste for the best part of three weeks (interesting when trying to work out whether your toddler has a dirty nappy), had a fever on and off for about two weeks, and generally felt a lot weaker and tired mainly needing to sleep it off. 

Eventually, about four weeks after my symptoms had first started, I felt more like myself. It felt like a really bad flu and knowing that it was COVID-19 (I had been tested as I work for the NHS) made it quite scary being pregnant and knowing my body was under so much strain. For me, worrying about safely delivering my baby was the scariest thing I’ve ever felt and I’m sure this has led to me having postpartum anxiety. 

I tried to focus on maintaining my spiritual strength – having my pregnancy Quran playlist on repeat and praying my Salaat on time. This really helped me to gain focus and stay strong when my fears were at their worst. Manuka honey mixed with water was great at making me feel a bit better too and I also took my prenatals to support getting nutrients into my body as I wasn’t able to stomach much.

What happened afterwards?

Whilst symptomatic with COVID-19, I had to cancel my antenatal appointments, so I had to reschedule these in and also let my midwife know that I had contracted COVID-19 whilst pregnant.

Whilst the NHS are great and in terms of emergency care never failed, given the pandemic it was difficult for me to get what I needed from them after recovery. Being a healthcare professional myself, I read up on the current guidance and ended up getting a private scan locally as my midwives weren’t really aware of any guidelines or protocols in place locally which would entitle me to this. Luckily, I was under a consultant for other reasons and when I saw her at 38 weeks, she referred me for another scan to check the baby was growing well and Alhamdullilah all was in order. I delivered my baby boy at 39 weeks on the nurse-led unit of my local NHS hospital – by the grace of the almighty Allah (SWT), we both came home within 24 hours.

For me, it was not so much contracting the virus that made me feel unwell as the anxiety that came with it whilst being pregnant – when you’re about to have a baby the last thing you need is any added stress on your body. I can hand on heart say that since I had COVID-19, I’ve changed and not for the better – I have anxiety now and I always fear the worst. It’s scary and it’s something I’m trying to work through. I’ve realised that the only thing that will get me through this is my faith in Allah (SWT) and the knowledge that this is my test and he would not burden me with it if he wasn’t sure I could bear it. I have to be patient and I have to stay strong in my faith – if only it was that easy!

If you’re currently pregnant and are worried about how covid-19 will impact you, have a read of our Pregnant in a Pandemic post on what to expect.

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