A Maternal Health Expert, Mrs Olajumoke Adebayo, has advised pregnant women and new mothers to build their immunity by eating well and engage in mild exercise to limit their exposure and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Adebayo, also the Programmes Officer, Motherhood Cell Groups, Lagos, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
She explained that due to COVID-19 pandemic, pregnant women and new mothers should endeavour to learn and limit their exposure.
“They should practice good hand hygiene, cough hygiene and avoid having contact with those that have travel history to countries prone to COVID-19.
“Washing of hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after eating, and using the toilet should be constant.
“During this time, pregnant women should continue to use their routine medications, and also keep in touch with their doctors or midwives on phone, if they have medical or checkup appointments,” Adebayo said.
She urged pregnant women and nursing mothers to ask their employers on the update of health guidelines to protect workers in the workplace before resuming work.
“They should continue to check online for a professional pre and postpartum support group for pregnant and new mothers, where they can learn and share experiences that meet a need because such groups are good for sanity and networking,” she said.
Adebayo also called on governments to collaborate with a midwifery focussed organisation to provide support for advocating water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in maternity settings.
“Midwives cannot do their jobs without the enabling environment in place which includes basic hygiene and WASH.
“Midwives are very critical in ending maternal and child mortality in Nigeria and significantly improving the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls in the country.
“According to UNFPA, midwives can carry out 85 per cent of reproductive health services and care, because they provide care before, during and after pregnancy,” she said.
Adebayo said that the most pressing issues of sexual and reproductive health in Nigeria could be done by midwives.
“We should begin to embrace the work of midwives and develop innovative ways to ensure retention and capacity building to provide quality care.
“It is important that governments understand the work and importance of midwives in reducing maternal and child mortality, and register-trained traditional birth attendants as support to the system,” she said.