Pregnancy in the times of a pandemic, and its challenges

Hyderabad: Though there is no empirical evidence of Covid-19 or the coronavirus getting transmitted from an expecting mother to her child; it is best advised that pregnant women keep social distance to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.

The prospect of being a mother is a happy-yet-worrisome phase in every pregnant women’s life, even when everything is normal. And under the current circumstances when a deadly virus is causing panic around the World, it is difficult to expect a pregnant woman to stay detached from the thoughts about the possible effects.

Covid-19: Do’s & Don’t’s

  • Reduce, postpone and/or increase the interval between antenatal visits
  • Use telehealth, mail or telephone consultations instead of routine Doctor visits
  • Cover mouth & nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or cough/sneeze inside elbow
  • Wear facemask only if sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas
  • Continue breastfeeding
  • Wash hands before touching the infant, and wear a facemask while feeding at the breast
  • Avoid coughing and sneezing on the baby while feedings at the breast

The first known newborn who tested positive for Covid-19 (also known as SARS-CoV-2) did so within 36 hours of birth, in London. The exact mode of transmission is unknown; and of the 147 pregnant women with either confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19, only 8% had a severe form of the disease and just 1% were in critical condition.

Commenting on the risks involved, Dr. Kavitha Naragoni, Senior Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician Laparoscopic & Robotic surgeon & Infertility Specialist, Continental Hospitals said, “Coronavirus is new, and more data is required to ascertain scientific evidence and to provide recommendations. Several changes occur to a woman’s body during pregnancy, which includes reduced lung function, increased cardiac output, increased oxygen consumption, and changes to the immune system. Due to these changes, pregnant women have had an increased risk of severe complications from the infection with viruses from the same family as Covid-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza. So, it is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

Symptoms of this infection are cold/flu symptoms -fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, difficulty in breathing. The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets stay in the air for 3 hours, on metal surfaces for 4-6 hours, are expected to be live on plastic for 2-3 days; and can land in the mouth or nose of nearby people or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Hence, it is strongly recommended that like everyone else, pregnant women strictly maintain social distance from others,” concluded Dr. Kavitha Naragoni.

Women who have other health conditions and are pregnant need to be extra vigilant and consider social distancing if not self-isolation during their pregnancy. Women who develop diabetes – a condition known as gestational diabetes, with hypertension, asthma, those giving birth to twins, and other diseases should be more careful and limit social contact.


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