The number of coronavirus positive cases is increasing with each passing day in India and this is a reason to worry for many, especially pregnant women. There are several types of thoughts and questions that arise in their mind regarding the health of the baby they will deliver in the coming days. Dr Sweta Jaiswal, Resident Obstetrics & Gynaecology – Holy Spirit Hospital, Andheri East, Mumbai has tried to answer few of them.
Q. Is getting pregnant poses any risk during COVID-19 Outbreak?
Doctor: Pregnant women are a vulnerable group but becoming pregnant is a matter of personal choice. Pregnant women are at no greater risk of becoming seriously unwell than other healthy adults.
Pregnant women over the age of 35, those who are obese or overweight & who had pre-existing medical problems such as High BP, Diabetes & heart disease are at greater risk of developing severe illness.
1. There is a probability of vertical transmission (transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy or birth).
2. There can be premature births, fetal distress, fetal growth restrictions and maternal mortality due to COVID -19.
The faculty of Sexual &Reproductive healthcare (FSRH) recommend that when considering pregnancy, women and their partners consider the risk of COVID-19 transmission associated with routine contacts with healthcare professionals & hospital attendance during pregnancy.
Q. What are the things that women who are already pregnant and are on the way to motherhood should keep in mind during the pandemic?
Doctor: Some of the most important things that pregnant women should always remember
1. Wash hands often.
2. Avoid touching face, nose, eyes, and mouth.
3. Use tissue while sneezing and discard it immediately after use and wash hands.
4. Avoid contact with someone with symptoms of Covid-19.
5. Avoid nonessential use of public transport.
6. Avoid any kind of gathering.
7. Follow Social distancing.
8. Use mask while going out.
9. Avoid touching any object in public places.
10. Reduce your antenatal visits as per your maternity team.
11. Visit the nearest healthcare center in case you have a fever with a cough or breathlessness or change in taste or smell.
12. Receiving influenza and Tdap vaccines can help to protect you and your baby.
13. As pandemics are stressful for everyone. Coping successfully with stress will make you and your family stronger.
14. Use of telemedicine.
15. Use of online services.
Q. Are newborn babies at greater risk of getting infected?
Doctor: As this is a new virus and limited evidence is available but a small number of babies have been diagnosed with COVID- 19 shortly after birth hence there is a chance of infection but it is not certain whether the transmission was before or soon after birth.
Hence, if the mother is COVID -19 positive then the isolation of the baby may be advised by the neonatal doctor.
1. There is no evidence showing that the virus can be carried or passed through breastfeeding. The main risk of breastfeeding is close contact between mother and baby as if women coughs or sneezes than droplets can lead to infection of the baby.
2. Consider wearing a mask while breastfeeding. But NOTE – DO NOT COVER BABIES /Children FACE <2yrs because of the danger of suffocation.
3. Effects of COVID – 19 on neonate
. Respiratory distress
. Low Platelets
. Abnormal Liver Functions
. Neonatal death
Q. How pregnant women can keep themselves fit at home?
Doctor: Pregnant women can keep themselves fit at home during the pandemic by:
1. Taking adequate rest and sleep but complete immobilisation is not recommended.
2. Balanced Diet – Including fruits and a healthy diet in the meal.
3. Maintain Hydration
5. Avoid direct contact with household workers
6. Frequent hand washing
7. Gargle twice a day
8. Take lukewarm water
9. Get involved with family and friends via social media to be mentally fit
Stay Home Stay safe!