I still remember vividly that winter evening of 26th December 2015, when my heart was thumping loud and i was perspiring out of anxiety. My blood reports of pregnancy were about to arrive in the evening . For me it was a long wait and these reports were about to unlock the mysterious journey of holding life within. The reports were positive and I was over the moon.But, along with the excitement there was unknown fear about safe pregnancy and delivery.
Now, with the outbreak of COVID, I can fathom the fear and anxiety that an expecting couple would experience. The good news is welcomed by a mixed bag of emotions. Expecting couple and their family are being plagued by unknown fear of safe pregnancy. and delivery.
Pregnancy is the most beautiful phase that a woman cherishes to experience. But,COVID -19 has given rise to fear and uncertainity especially to expectant mothers and their families regarding safe delivery, as the health services are disrupted because of the health emergency that the nation is facing.
This article will help you understand few safety questions that comes to mind of the expectant mother and her family, the moment they recive the good news during this pandemic time.
Questions that plague expectant couples in COVID time.
Are pregnant women at higher risk of contracting coronavirus?
Earlier there was no concrete evidence on the novel coronavirus that the pregnant ladies are more vulnerable group and possess higher risk for contracting coronavirus. However, the overall immunity of a woman decreases during pregnancy so its vital to maintain personal hygiene and necessary precautions.
But recently, several studies are claiming that pregnant woman are four times more vulnerable to the virus. The Study also claims that pregnant women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds were more likely than other women to be admitted to hospital for coronavirus. Pregnant women over the age of 35, those who are overweight or obese, and those who had pre-existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, are also at higher risk of developing severe illness and requiring admission to hospital.
You can also read Top 10 myths of pregnancy and miscarriage busted.
Can the newborn baby or fetus get infected if mother is COVID positive?
As per the WHO ( World Health Organisation) , an active virus is not being found in the samples of amniotic fluid or in the breastmilk of new mother.
According to the Royal College Of Obstrecians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), United Kingdom, “Expert opinion is that the baby is unlikely to be exposed during pregnancy”. This comes with a disclaimer that evidence is limited.
But after delivery there are chances of infection from the surroundings . However, its still not very clear whether infection can be passed through womb or after delivery.
Though recently, there has been cases of vertical transmission that the infection has transferred from mother to the infant.
Is it safe to deliver at the hospital in the present situation?
Though India does not explicitly recognise independent midwifery unlike countries like Finland and UK. So the best option is to deliver at the hospital but here one can make a choice by opting hospitals completely dedicated to maternity and paediatric needs like Cloud Nine group of hospitals, units that carry out only maternity and newborn care. This can minimise your exposure to more patients and visitors , hence can reduce the probability of being infected.
Can a COVID postive mother breastfeed her child?
As per WHO and RCOG ( Royal College of Obstrecians and Gynaecologists) active virus is not being detected in the samples of breastmilk. The health benefits of the breastmilk outweighs the chances of infection.
However, new moms should follow religiously the following steps to reduce the chances of infection for the infant.
- Wear mask while breastfeeding
- Wash hands for atleast 20 seconds with regular soap and water
- Clean nipple before breastfeeding
- Wash and sterilize the parts of the breastpump.
- Maintain personal hygiene
You can also read Diet chart for breastfeeding mothers to augment breastmilk supply.
How often should one go for prenatal visits?
Prenatal visits are of utmost importance during pregnancy but during this pandemic one should try for tele-consultation with the doctors . Only the visits that require blood tests, ultrasound checkups or any other vital anatomical development tests for fetus should be entertained. The intervals of the visits could be widened but only after the consultation with your doctors.
No doubt this is a tough time for all of us over the globe but for expecting moms it adds up, as she has to take care of two lives simultaneously.
Here are the key measures that the expectant as well as new mom should follow religiously.
- Wash hands at regular intervals with soap and water. New moms should wash their hands before touching their newborns.
- Wear cloth mask while breastfeeding.
- Maintain social distancing at all time, minimum of 6 ft.
- Don’t allow visitors and guests to meet pregnant woman or newborn.
- Eat, healthy, balanced and easily digestible food.
- Take Vitamin D supplement as it helps to reduce the risk of respiratory infections . Folic acid supplements should also be taken to support healthy pregnancy.
- Keep yourself active and well hydrated to reduce the chances of blood clot in pregnancy.
- If someone is sick , keep the infant away and try to isolate or confine the sick person in one room.
- Try to clean the surfaces around the newborn like regularly change the bed sheets, sterilize bottles and breast pump properly.
For precautionary measures, you should be ready with a COVID kit at home.
COVID Medical kit Required at home:
- Betadine for mouthwash and gargle
- Vitamin C and D3
- B complex
- Vapour+ capsules for steam
- Oxygen cylinder (for emergency only)
- arogya Setu app
- Breathing Exercises
The above medicines and supplements should always be taken after consultation with your doctor.
Pregnancy is a beautiful experience that should be cherished and enjoyed. Though precautions, hygiene and personal care should not be neglected at any stage of pregnancy.
For all the expectant moms I am concluding this post with an inspiring quote.
Use the power of knowledge and information to sail your ship safely through 9 months.
This Blog Post is part of the blog train hosted by Prisha @mummasaurus.
She has penned on 9 Psychological phenomenon that trick you everyday.