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Crossing the hurdles of pregnancy risk in the COVID 19 Era
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
Dr. Anuradha Kapur: Director & Unit head at Max Hospital Saket talks gives an insight on pregnancy during COVID-19.
Disease severity & mortality scenario will be the same as per the general population for pregnant women. Just to be on the safer side considering the current times, pregnant women should take extra care and a few necessary precautions that are now the need of the hour:
- The most important step is to practice excellent hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth, and nose.
- Social distancing is important to limit the spread of the virus. It’s safe to go out for walks just try to remain six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live with you.
- Wear a 3 layered mask in public, especially in places where it’s hard to maintain social distancing. Even a cloth mask, when used to cover the mouth and nose completely, helps protect you and others.
- If you have a mild cough or cold, stay at home, and limit exposures to other people. Sneeze and cough into a tissue that you discard immediately, or into your elbow, to avoid making others sick. Hydration and adequate rest also are important in maintaining the health of your immune system.
Signs & Symptoms of COVID-19
By now we all know what are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as most of us have normal symptoms like headache, fever, cough, and cold, vomiting, loss of Taste & smell, diarrhea, shortness of breath, etc. But along severe symptoms, there are few critical symptoms as well such as organ failure, shock, etc but it's present in less than 5% of people, Hence not to worry as most people with mild symptoms recover in 2 – 3 weeks. Pregnancy is a special time full of delight and expectations. But being pregnant can also be stressful. It is understandable that you may be worried about the impact of corona virus disease (COVID-19) on your as well as your baby’s health.
What if you accidentally conceive during this Pandemic time?
Many women might get anxious if they accidentally conceive during this time and might think they should opt for abortion as the expected child may contract corona virus however that’s not true because, at the initial stage, the fetus is getting formed and may not be able to get affected by this virus. Although according to The Hindu dated July 19th 2020 a study has found evidence that confirms vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus from the mother to the fetus. The route of infection is through the womb (in utero) well before the onset of labour and delivery of the baby. The proportion of pregnancies affected and the significance to the newborn child has yet to be determined. Prenatal visits are important to ensure maternal and fetal health. However, given the current global pandemic, we are facing, many obstetricians are either increasing the interval between visits or encouraging telehealth Consultations.
If you are concerned about visiting your Doctor for your regular checkups due to COVID-19, talk to your doctor. Establish a trusting relationship with your doctor and freely ask them any doubts or concerns you may have regarding your pregnancy and delivery.
Should pregnant women deliver early during this period?
Normally the only indication in which the doctor tries to deliver early is when you have crossed 32 weeks and you have a severe respiratory illness so that the load is off the mother. Till date, there is no evidence that suggests any required changes in your birth plan.
However, if you start suffering from respiratory distress due to the disease and your overall health starts to deteriorate, a cesarean birth may be recommended by your doctor. There is also no evidence that restricts women from opting for an epidural or a spinal block if they are suspected or confirmed patients of COVID-19
Is breastfeeding allowed if a mother is COVID – 19 Positive?
This is the most important question asked by every mother. Yes, even if you are infected you can still breastfeed your baby. You can safely touch, hold, and breastfeed your baby since transmission of the virus through breast milk has not been reported till date but the only thing you need to take care of is to maintain proper hygiene as mentioned earlier. Also after breastfeeding, the baby should be at 6 feet distance and should be handed over to another family member.
Pandemics can be stressful for everyone. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming for both adults and children not only at the time of pregnancy but also post-pregnancy. Do consult your family doctor at regular intervals and follow all the things instructed to ensure the safety of your loved ones and yourself.
As the saying goes, it helps to be prepared, not scared. In case of any doubts or smptoms you can opt for testing immediately with the advice of trusted doctor & diagnostic centers. Meril’s One-Step RT-PCR Kit is a real-time RT-PCR detection kit which is a confirmatory test to detect a person. Click on the link to know more https://bit.ly/3gDtAra. Also keep following simple steps like regular hand washing and avoiding crowds can go a long way in protecting you and your baby. Do not stress if your due date is coming close. Hospitals have systems in place to ensure safe deliveries and reduce the risk of infection to newborns. Stay healthy and stay protected.