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COVID & Pregnancy: what are risks & important measures?

Pregnancy during COVID-19: A Guide for All Pregnant Mothers
Since its inception about a year ago, coronavirus has taken the world by storm even as it continues to be on the rise. Research reveals new information about this rampantly spreading virus almost every day, helping us keep safe. However, navigating pregnancy in the midst of an outbreak that has dramatically altered the face of health care infrastructures globally is nothing short of daunting. A period of numerous changes in physiological and psychological dispositions, pregnancy warrant special care for expecting mothers and their babies. Here are health concerns surrounding pregnancy during coronavirus and safety tips for all expecting mothers.

Are Pregnant Women At A Higher Risk of Contracting COVID-19?
According to WHO, pregnant women are not particularly at higher risk of contracting the disease than the rest of the population. However, those with pre-existing health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or respiratory concerns are more susceptible to the virus.

Pregnancy in pandemic

Is It Safe for Pregnant Women to Get Tested for Coronavirus? 
While testing protocols and eligibility during pregnancy differ from region to region, WHO recommends that pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19 should be prioritized for testing and be provided with appropriate care.

Do pregnant women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 need to give birth by caesarean section?
According to WHO, caesarean sections should only be carried out only when medically necessary; the mode of birth should be individualised and based on the patient’s preferences in tandem with medical indications.

Safe Pregnancy

What Are the Risks for Pregnant Women with Confirmed Case of COVID-19?
Pregnant women who are COVID-19 positive are at a severe risk of developing fatal comorbidities such as severe respiratory complications. This might require them to be admitted in intensive care units (ICU). 

What Effects Will the Virus Have on My Baby If I Am Diagnosed with Coronavirus?
While very little is known about the frequency and causality of pregnancy complications due to a positive case of the virus, research maintains that pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to have a premature birth. So far, no body of research confirms an increase chance of miscarriage or other fetus complications.

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Prenatal Safety Measures to avoid COVID-19
Pregnant women should take the same safety precautions to stave-off coronavirus as other people:

  • Frequently washing hands for a duration of twenty or more seconds.

  • Using alcohol-based hand rub in case of contact with suspected contaminated surfaces.

  • Avoiding crowded places and maintaining a healthy distance between people. 

  • Wearing non-medical, fabric face masks in case the above isn’t quite possible. 

  • Practicing respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. 

Additionally, pregnant women should speak with their obstetric team regarding the frequency and mode of routine health-checkups. Unless absolutely necessary, women should have larger gaps between in-person checkups or contact their doctors via telehealth checkups. 

I am COVID-19 Positive. Can I Spread the Virus to My Newborn?
Although periconceptional fever has been linked to neural tube defects in fetuses, there is a dearth of information on whether pregnant women with coronavirus can pass it down to their newborn children. 

Upon delivery, there are ways in which you can ensure safe contact with your baby. In fact, close contact and early, executive breastfeeding helps your baby thrive. Currently, there is no evidence that breastfeeding your newborn enables the transmission of coronavirus to them; poor respiratory hygiene while breastfeeding your baby can increase the risk of transmission. Safe breastfeeding conditions should be ensured. 

You should always wash your hand thoroughly before any contact with your baby. Mothers with a positive case of the virus are advised to wear medical face masks while holding their babies. 

Main source for facts: WHO