Pregnancy and COVID-19: Things You Need To Know

By Dr Padmapriya, HOD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai

The period of pregnancy is exciting for most women. However, due to health complications and other reasons, it can also be slightly stressful, it is especially worse if it’s during an epidemic or a pandemic. The anxiety and stress are much more than usual. Right now, the COVID-19 has all of us on the edge, and you are bound to be more apprehensive if you are an expectant mother.

Experts are trying their best to learn more about the new coronavirus, it impacts on our daily lives and multiple other aspects. Healthcare professionals are working hard as well, they are planning with mothers on how to protect themselves and their newborns in the midst of this widespread virus.

Pregnancy changes the immune system of a woman, making her more susceptible to infections. And COVID-19 spreads easily, affecting the lungs and airways. However, there’s no evidence or study that shows it is more harmful to a pregnant woman than a regular person, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Precautions for Pregnant Women

Though we don’t know for a fact whether pregnant women can pass the disease to their fetus, if they are affected by the coronavirus, it is still wise to take precautions. I would recommend that you try and avoid even the smallest possibility of getting sick. If you are pregnant, you need to follow the hygiene protocols more than anyone else.

Avoid crowds. Stay home as much as possible. Stay away from sick people. If you have to be a part of a crowd, as if you have guests over, maintain a distance of six feet to prevent any chances of any kind of illness.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Sanitize it every now and then. Avoid touching your face.

Eat well. Make sure you are getting all the required nutrients to keep your immune system healthy. Call your doctor if you are coughing or having any kind of symptoms.

Managing Stress

It is obvious that you’ll be stressed with everything that is going around you, but you need to know that your mindset has an effect on your baby, so try and manage it. Talk to your friends and family, mostly virtually at this point in time, but do talk about everything that bothers you.

Try and divert your mind from everything. Stay away from fake news that runs through social media, they can create panic. Restrict your source of information to credible sources.

Develop a new hobby. Invest your time learning to do something new, learn a new language, read more, or simply do something that makes you happy. This will help you get your mind off all the havoc and give you some peace, which is really important.

Protecting Your Newborn If You Are Sick

If you get infected by the coronavirus near your delivery date, there are special precautions that your doctors can help you with. Though experts have not yet shown any evidence of the virus being transmitted during pregnancy, it can occur after birth when infants are in close contact with someone who has the illness. Therefore if the mother is ill with COVID-19, it is wise to keep the infant in isolation. Breastfeeding can be continued by the infected mother by taking all precautions before feeding the baby like hand sanitization and wearing mask, another alternative is using breast pump and giving the baby the expressed breast milk if the woman is suffering from bad cough or if they are scared of exposure to baby through direct breastfeeding.

Keep yourself hydrated and fit - Eat healthy, green leafy vegetables, sprouts, increase protein intake, have a balanced diet, avoid oily snacks when at home. Keep a watch on fetal movements regularly. If you have decreased fetal movements, pain, bleeding, watery discharge then report to hospital immediately.

You must have dreamt about the day you give birth to your baby. If you’re due date is any time soon, then your postpartum period is going to be more isolated and to avoid visitors during these times. It is important for you to be strong and be prepared for everything that is to come. Eat healthily, get enough sleep, take your medications on time, talk to your partner and family, and practice all the preventive measures.

“Don’t worry, this too shall pass and together we can fight this sensibly.”
Dr Padmapriya,
HOD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai

Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.

Tags: Coronavirus   

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