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'Hold it in, gents': Semarang health official tells women to postpone pregnancy amid pandemic

Coconuts Jakarta - May 27, 2020

Is it safe to get pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic? One community clinic (puskesmas) in Semarang, Central Java has become the subject of controversy for promoting the idea that pregnancy should be postponed at this time to avoid complications.

A video recently went viral in Indonesia showing a puskesmas official being driven around in a neighborhood as she extols the virtues of pregnancy postponement and contraceptives amid the pandemic through a loudspeaker.

"Remember, early stages of pregnancy are full of risks and potential complications. Your immune system may be compromised. You may get sick and vomit, [opening you up to] COVID-19," the woman said in the video.

"Postpone your pregnancy. You can get intimate, you can get married, but don't get pregnant. Remember to delay, ladies, and hold it in, gents. You can get intimate as long as you use contraceptives."

While the message is appropriate in parts, being told that they can't get pregnant didn't sit well with some members of the public, with the viral video receiving backlash.

Semarang Health Agency Head Moch Abdul Hakam yesterday clarified that the puskesmas official's message was merely an advisory, and not an official policy in the city.

"We admit that the language used by our official was too blunt. We will improve on that when we want to raise awareness in the future," he said.

The agency has, in fact, published guidelines on keeping healthy during pregnancy prior to this incident going viral.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/hold-it-in-gents-semarang-health-official-tells-women-to-postpone-pregnancy-amid-pandemic