Opinion: I caught COVID in my third trimester - here's what it's like

Newshub Nation reporter Anna Bracewell-Worrall was 35 weeks pregnant. Then she caught the coronavirus.
Newshub Nation reporter Anna Bracewell-Worrall was 35 weeks pregnant. Then she caught the coronavirus. Photo credit: Anna Bracewell-Worrall / Supplied

OPINION: ​I'm 36 weeks pregnant and last Sunday I started to come down with COVID. There's been a lot of curiosity about what it's been like, so I've decided to share my experience.

I have all my shots, I only do hospo outside, I wear KN95s or P2s when I do have to go inside, I've been working almost entirely from home. In other words, I'm cautious. But it got me. 

Here's what the last nine days have been like.

Day 0

The Ministry of Health counts this as the day you either test positive or first develop symptoms. This is Sunday. I feel drained and uncertain if I have the phantom pandemic sore throat or an actual sore throat. I'm not sure if the tiredness was just being pregnant. I take a rapid antigen test (RAT), which is negative. 

Day 1

Wake up feeling like I have tonsillitis. I get an immediate, strong positive result on a RAT - as in, it shows up within seconds. I register the result online and follow the process to kickstart Bluetooth tracing. My partner and sister both get pings. Others I saw at the office on Friday don't. By evening, both my midwife and my GP have called me, and my midwife notifies the obstetrics team at the hospital just in case. I'm told to be mindful of the baby's movements, but both the GP and my midwife tell me what we have seen play out in the statistics - that because I'm boosted, it's likely to be mild enough to treat at home.

My partner is testing negative and feels fine. We are renting an apartment with no way to isolate from each other so we decide to stay with my partner's parents so I can attempt to not pass it on to him. We will share a bathroom but wear masks and disinfect surfaces after use. I just want to eat ice and Frujus. I'm taking panadol for the sore throat but Ibuprofen is on the banned list. 

Day 2

It seems to have shifted from my throat to my lungs. I think this is the snottiest I've ever been in my life. Wheezing too, which is super-unusual for me. Bouts of coughing. Waking up for a few hours at a time in the night just needing to sit up and have a cup of tea and try to clear the airways. My boss has encouraged me to take the whole week off work. I'm having all meals brought to me and lots of people checking in. The baby is moving lots - more than usual. Or maybe I am just noticing it more because I'm doing nothing?

Day 3

My lungs and abs are getting pretty sore. When you're pregnant your abs split down the middle. I kind of hold them in with my hands when I cough. I'm also battling reflux. It's tragicomic holding my abs in and trying to keep down stomach acid during coughing fits. I think you would call this a 'productive cough' - I'm coughing up phlegm. Another wakeful night. If you were trying to work from home through this, wakeful nights might be stressful, but it's great knowing I have all day to read and sleep. Everyone else still testing negative.

Day 4

Today is just the same again. Lying around snotty, coughing, reading, and watching QI clips on YouTube.

Day 5

Worst day. Feels like it might not end? I don't even do the Wordle. 

Day 6

I'm 36 weeks pregnant today. A mozzie bit me on the eyelid in the night. Feels personal. But I've turned a corner. I'm not as snotty, not coughing as much, just generally feeling less viral. I do get a taste for that brain fog. I can't concentrate on anything the first half of the day. I had lost my hunger but now I'm getting that back. It's an astonishing difference since yesterday. But I'm still just lying in bed all day. Someone calls me from the health response and asks whether I have enough food and whether I'm coping with isolating from everyone else.

Day 7

Still a little snotty but NOTHING like before. Now just tired. Everyone else is negative. 

Day 8

I am feeling much better. Still tired. I stay in isolation. Took a RAT test out of curiosity. Strong, immediate positive.

Day 9

Other than the physical tiredness, I'm feeling really well. The midwife did a home visit and everything looks good.

'Please, listen to them'

I hear way too much about pregnant people not wanting to get their boosters because it feels like "too much". Everyone is telling you to get the shots because they want the best for you and the baby. Please, listen to them. You want a mild case like mine, treated with herbal teas, Frujus and Panadol, not hospitalisation.

I haven't shared this for sympathy - I had a mild case. I have shared it because I wanted to know what it was like for others catching Omicron late in their pregnancy, and I appreciated their advice. Hopefully, this is helpful to someone else out there. The main thing is to rest.

Anna Bracewell-Worrall is a reporter for Newshub Nation, Saturday 9:30am on TV3.

Opinion: I caught COVID in my third trimester - here's what it's like