For safe pregnancy during a pandemic

At a time when the spread of COVID-19 has become a cause of concern for everyone, it is more worrisome for pregnant women.

Apart from the fear of acquiring the infection and transmission to the foetus and its sequel among the mothers-to-be and their family members, worries that generally arise among the pregnant women include – “Will this infection affect the process of delivery? Will the baby be safe? Can I breastfeed the newborn?”

“The expectant mothers should neither panic nor be casual as the pregnancy period is a relatively immuno-compromised situation,” says senior obstetrician and gynaecologist L. Fahmida Banu. “In nature, this is to accept and adopt the foetus of different genetic composition, nurture it and safeguard it in the womb. There is also increased workload on the cardiovascular system of the mother due to increased blood volume [during pregnancy],” she adds.

The respiratory system is also strained through the growing foetus and upward pushed diaphragm. In addition, if there are other co-morbid conditions such as gross obesity, higher age of the pregnant women, gestational diabetes, respiratory or cardiovascular diseases or other infections, the pregnant women are more prone to infections and same applies to the COVID-19 infection too.

However, safe precautions such as frequent handwashing with soap and water, using sanitisers and disposing of tissues properly, taking balanced and protein-rich diet of fresh fruits, avoiding going out except for medical consultation, talking to the doctor, maintaining social contact (with social distance) and hobbies to feel well would largely help in safe pregnancy and peripartum period (the period shortly before, during and immediately after giving birth), she says.

On possibility of spread of infection to foetus and the newborn, the senior gynaecologist says the spread of infection to the baby (foetus) from the mother when it is in the uterus is called vertical transmission. However, there are no scientific studies supporting this so far. “There are two scientific studies reported from China, wherein the babies of nine pregnant women delivered were found to be negative after the babies’ amniotic fluid samples, blood samples and throat swabs were analysed,” the doctor explains, adding that the babies were separated from mothers till the mothers recovered.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 12:34:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/for-safe-pregnancy-during-a-pandemic/article31283721.ece

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