The Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center Task Force (EOC-TF) is encouraging pregnant women to undergo prenatal checkups.
In advising pregnant women to be “vigilant,” EOC-TF One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) administrative officer, Dr. Claire Capiral, stressed that prenatal checkups are important “to note if there are complications before delivery.”
The OHCC monitors the daily healthcare capacity, which pertains to data regarding the Capacity Utilization Rate (CUR) and bed availability of the seven hospitals in Bacolod, a press release from the city said.
The OHCC aims to facilitate hospital admission, thereby ensuring that all moderate-to-severe patients won’t be refused admission to the health facilities.
“Pregnant women can experience changes in their immune systems that can make them more vulnerable to respiratory viruses. These changes, plus the fact that there is no vaccine for Covid-19 yet, mean that expectant mothers should be proactive when it comes to safety measures,” City Administrator Em Ang, who is also the EOC executive director and deputy for admin and operations, said.
Pregnant women are at an increased risk for Covid-19 and at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth.
The EOC recommends pregnant women to follow certain health protocols, like wearing of face masks and face shields, practicing good hand hygiene, physical distancing and staying at home if possible, especially during the last trimester of pregnancy.
“The EOC likewise advises these women to seek early consultation when experiencing symptoms or if there’s a history of close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case,” Ang added.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecologist Society (POGS) has set guidelines for admission of expecting mothers to hospitals amid the pandemic, among which is to undergo a prior Covid-19 test.
“It would be best if you test negative for Covid-19. It’s very difficult to be referred to hospitals if one has a complicated pregnancy and no swab test was done or worse, the patient is positive for COVID-19. In both ways, admission is costly because of isolation and PPE,” acting City Health Officer, Dr. Edwin Miraflor Jr., said.
“So if you’re expectant, please stay at home,” he added.
Miraflor stressed that General Community Quarantine guidelines set curfews for vulnerable groups aged 14 below and 65 up, the immunocompromised, those with comorbid conditions and pregnant patients.
Recently, a pregnant woman in Bacolod had to be rushed for a caesarian section after it was belatedly discovered that she had a breech pregnancy – a case where the baby is positioned bottom first instead of head first during labor.
“If she had been diligent with her prenatal care, she should have been scheduled beforehand and hadn’t put her life and her baby at risk,” Capiral said.
Capiral also emphasized that pregnant patients should go to the nearest birthing facility at the first sign of labor.
“It would be easier to accommodate and facilitate transfer to a higher facility of care if needed, upon assessment by a trained midwife or doctor. If seeking consultation is at the late stage of labor, it will be very difficult for admission referrals when the need arises,” she added.*