COVID-19 and Pregnancy -do’s and don’ts for a healthy mother and child

We have pregnant women around us. In this situation of Pandemic which is completely new globally it becomes challenging to avoid stress and confusion. Already, pregnant woman have an additional risk for which screening tests are conducted during pregnancy. There is confusion about whether to conduct screening test for pregnant women or not. But World health organization has recommended it is advised in only symptomatic patients.

Currently available data show that pregnant women are not more likely to show severe symptoms of COVID-19 compared to other healthy adults. The large majority of pregnant women will have only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms. Unlike other viral infections such as the flu, COVID-19 infection has not been seen as severe in pregnant women. The pregnant woman may have severe symptoms only if she has other health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, respiratory disease or advanced age .

What can pregnant women do?

All the precautions suggested to general population has to be followed even by the Pregnant women. They can protect themselves adhering to personal hygiene measure given below-

  1. Stay indoors
  • The greatest way to prevent COVID-19 Infection in the general population and for pregnant women is Social Distancing. Try self-isolation as much as possible and avoid going outside, in the crowd.
  • Stay happy and continue with simple indoor exercises.
    • Reschedule routine check-up:
  • If you don’t have the any symptoms or infection, at present, post-pone routine antenatal check-up visits. You can consult the healthcare provider telephonically or through a web platform for minor ailments and questions.
  • Essential milestone visits such as the 12 and 19 week scans are needed, but consult with your gynaecologist first over the call before visiting.
  • Note the movements of foetus every day.

2. Take these Prevention measures

  • Frequently wash hands for 20s with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Keep space between yourselves and others and avoiding crowded spaces.
  • Must Avoid touching any part of your face such as eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Do cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Timely investigate for the screening tests and clarify the doubt about the results with your doctor
  • Assess the calorie intake and consume adequate nutritious diet
  • Don’t consume simple sugars such as cake, pastries, chocolate, puddings, bun bread, pizza, jellies etc
  • Never forget to have five servings comprised of vegetables and fruits in a day.
  • Communication with healthcare provider: Communicate with healthcare provider and discuss anxiety and fears. The discussion with non medical personnel will add ghee to the fire. It wouldn’t help to ease the process and decreasing mental stress.

In case of fever or any breathing difficulty or respiratory symptoms contact your family doctor and gynaecologist through phone or video calling. Avoid visiting hospital or clinic unless asked by your doctor. If asked to visit the clinic or health facility, don’t forget to use a mask. Dispose it in closed dustbin after use. Take extra care during visit to hospital for Ante natal care or post natal care/USG. Use sanitizer and avoid touching any surfaces on the way or in the hospital.

 3. Monitor pre-existing conditions

  • If there is past history of diabetes or chronic respiratory disease then monitor blood sugar, breathing problems etc and keep compliance with the drug doses.
  • Monitor blood sugar if you are having diabetes during pregnancy

4. Take care of mental health

Do not panic or worry thinking about future problems

Try to relax as much as possible, listen to soothing music, or take help of online meditation videos, breathing techniques, do things that you enjoy

Stay connected with your family and friends over the phone, video calling or social media, however avoid too much information about conditions of COVID-19 infection in your area.

Communicate with your partner and loved ones. Share past memories which will bring happiness to you.

What are the points to remember after delivery?

There are no evidences of virus in amniotic fluid or breast milk so chances of transmission from pregnant woman are still unknown. The women should have mental support during and even after pregnancy. The respect and dignity for choice of position of comfort to deliver must be chosen by pregnant woman herself. Avoid events or social gatherings which involves people around the woman and child. Social distancing and spending quality time with child will keep both of them healthy.

What should family members do?

  • Communicate with the pregnant and help them to stay away from myths and fears
  • Keep watch for worsening of symptoms and the clinical picture in pregnant woman.
  • Always wash hands if you go out to buy something or touching anything.
  • keep the pregnant woman away from fake news and stressful news circulating easily.
  • Remind her to take supplements or if they have any regular medications.
  • Talk to her about her feelings, desires for food, movement of child.
  • Try to minimize visitors from coming to meet the mother and newborn after delivery.

Suggested readings and references:

  1. WHO, Clinical Management of sever acute respiratory infection when  COVID 19 is suspected Interim guidance 13 March 2020 Available from: ttps://www.who.int/publication-detail/clinical management-of-severe-acute-respiratory-infection-when novel coronavirus-(ncov)-infection -is suspected
  2. WHO, COVID 19 Pregnancy childbirth and breastfeeding,13 March 2020 Available from :https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-pregnancy-childbirth-and-breastfeeding
  3. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/Leaflet-Covid-19_pregnant-women.pdf
  4. FOGSI GCPR, Good clinical practice recommendation on pregnancy with COVID 19 infection, version 1,28 March 2020 Accessed on 8th April 2020.

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