Pregnancy is a period where the body’s immune response increases to various viral infections. The same phenomenon applies to COVID-19, and very rarely severe symptoms are diagnosed in pregnant women. In general, expecting mothers have a better recovery rate when compared to normal human beings. But the risk of COVID-19 becomes higher when pregnancy and Covid go hand in hand during the last trimester of pregnancy and in women who have heart problems.
The transmission of the virus from mother to baby during pregnancy is possible, but the proportion of affected babies and its consequences after birth is still unknown. But what they do know is that the virus is teratogenic, which does not lead to miscarriage or early pregnancy loss. The long-term effect on babies whose mothers were affected during pregnancy is still under study. Although there are no recorded cases of both vaginal secretion and breast milk being tested positive in patients with covid and pregnancy at the same time. This is good news for most healthcare professionals.
The dos and don’ts when a pregnant woman experiences COVID-19 symptoms are:
When a pregnant woman displays symptoms of coronavirus disease, she has to be immediately tested to check the status. Or if there is a doubt that she might be carrying it due to exposure and direct contact or travel to other countries, then the management should be done as follows. The COVID-19 test is done either by nasopharyngeal oropharyngeal samples and then diagnosed whether the person is symptomatic or asymptomatic.
Antenatal care is the routine health checkup presuming that the pregnant woman is healthy to rule out any complicating obstetric conditions without symptoms. In this pandemic, the antenatal care for all pregnant women would be:
The steps to be taken to have safe labour for a COVID-19 positive patient is mentioned here.
Mothers who are separated from their babies have to learn how to breastfeed in such scenarios. They should express their breast milk with the help of a breast pump with proper hygiene and precautionary measures. After each pumping, all the parts of the entire pump must be thoroughly rinsed and disinfected. A healthy caregiver must feed the newborn, and if the mother wishes to do the feeding job, she has to wear a facemask and perform it with proper hygiene.
As mentioned previously, it is not sure whether the newborn is at any complication because of the transmission via contact with the mother. So, the baby and mother have to be isolated for the welfare of the baby. The benefits of this temporary separation outweigh the risk, and once the situation eases out, the decision to discontinue isolation or arranging for colocation has to be made only after proper consultation with the physicians and prevention control specialists.
But even after that, the mother should continue using physical barriers like curtains, facemask and six feet distance, keeping in mind the baby’s well-being. The mother is also advised to carry on with hand hygiene practice regularly as she is the one who is in close contact with her newborn.
Content is medically reviewed by: Dr Renu Raina Sehgal (Advisory Panel, Portea), Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Robotic Surgery
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