Coronavirus | ICMR urges extra caution for pregnant women

A view of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in New Delhi. File

A view of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in New Delhi. File

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has warned that vertical transmission (transmission from mother to baby antenatally or intrapartum), of the novel coronavirus infection is probable as per emerging evidence.

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However, the Council said the proportion of pregnancies affected and the significance to the neonate has yet to be determined, adding that, “At present, there are no recorded cases of vaginal secretions being tested positive for COVID-19 and there are no recorded cases of breast milk being tested positive.”

In its recently released guidelines — Management of Pregnant Women in COVID-19 Pandemic — the ICMR cautions that pregnant women with heart disease (congenital or acquired) are at highest risk. The coronavirus epidemic increases the risk of perinatal anxiety and depression, as well as domestic violence. It is critically important that support for women and families is strengthened as far as possible; that women are asked about mental health at every contact.

No higher risk

ICMR further states that pregnant women do not appear more likely to contract the infection than the general population. However, pregnancy itself alters the body’s immune system and response to viral infections in general, which can occasionally be related to more severe symptoms and this will be the same for COVID-19.

Also read: Coronavirus | ICMR study points to community transmission

The Council has said that health care practitioners should contact their local and/or State health department for guidance on testing persons under investigation and should follow the national protocol.

“A registry for all women admitted with confirmed COVID-19 infection in pregnancy should be maintained. Maternal and neonatal records including outcome should be completed in detail and preserved for analysis in future,” the guidelines said.

“Healthcare providers should create a plan to address the possibility of a decreased health care workforce, potential shortage of personal protective equipment, limited isolation rooms, and should maximize the use of tele-health across as many aspects of prenatal care as possible,” it advises.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 7:44:43 pm |