Tamil Nadu

Protocol in place for pregnant patients

Separate facilities have been created for pregnant women who have COVID at the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Chennai.

Separate facilities have been created for pregnant women who have COVID at the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: B_VELANKANNI RAJ

Separate isolation rooms allocated to each of the 11 women: Beela Rajesh

Eleven pregnant women have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in State till now. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of hospitals have earmarked separate facilities for pregnant women with suspected symptoms or confirmed COVID-19, and have rolled out protocols for management of pregnant women.

Health Secretary Beela Rajesh said so far, 11 pregnant women had tested positive for COVID-19 in the State and were admitted in COVID-19 designated hospitals.

Of them, two mothers have delivered babies.

The official said there were protocols in place for management of pregnant women in the COVID-19 pandemic, both State-specific and recommendation of the Indian Council of Medical Research was being followed.

Separate single isolation room/labour room is allocated for each of the women admitted in COVID-19 designated hospitals.

The Health Department, in March, identified 1.5 lakh pregnant women who had their expected date of deliveries in these two months. Of these, nearly 35,000 women had been delivered of babies.

All the identified women were followed up by village health nurses.

At two of the government maternity hospitals in Chennai — Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children, Triplicane, and Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Hospital for Women and Children, Egmore — doctors said separate facilities were earmarked for pregnant women reporting with fever. There were fever clinics and separate wards, labour rooms, operation theatres and intensive care units for pregnant women with suspected symptoms and confirmed COVID-19. Required safety kits such as personal protective equipment and N95 masks were available.

Extra care

A senior obstetrician said pregnant women do not appear to have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public. Unlike Influenza A(H1N1), COVID-19 did not pose a high risk to pregnant mothers. Still, it was important to stay safe. “We screen women with suspected symptoms of COVID-19, quarantine or isolate them in hospitals. If she tests positive, we need to follow all safety protocols,” she said. “There is no need to induce labour. World over, there is a marked increase of caesarean sections in women with COVID-19. Breastfeeding is not contraindicated,” she added.

N.S. Kanimozhi, senior obstetrician and gynaecologist, Cloudnine Hospitals, said, “Teleconsultation during the antenatal period is good but we have to mandatorily see some of these expectant mothers. Many of them have invariably gone into stress due to concerns such as reaching hospital on time. We are seeing instances of intrauterine growth restrictions,” she said.

If a pregnant woman tests positive, she could deliver mostly through a caesarean section under spinal anaesthesia without allowing for a longer period of labour, she said. “After delivery, there is a higher possibility of transmission from mother to newborn due to respiratory aerosols. So, breastfeeding should be guarded,” she said.

Deepa Hariharan, senior neonatologist, Sooriya Hospital, said if a mother tested positive for COVID-19, she can wear a mask, wash hands and express milk.

“An unaffected member of the family can feed the expressed milk to the baby. This is the recommendation in the Indian setting whereas in some centres in China, they were giving donor milk to the babies,” she said.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 3:11:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/protocol-in-place-for-pregnant-patients/article31360270.ece

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