Pregnant women are advised to avoid routine antenatal checkups if they are not in the category of high risk pregnancy or in last trimester of pregnancy
COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, has rapidly spread globally.
The WHO labeled COVID-19 a PANDEMIC
As this is a new virus, how exactly it affects pregnant women is not yet clear. But, from the experience of corona affected patients in china and knowledge of other viruses that cause severe respiratory illness, it is found that pregnant women are more vulnerable to infection with COVID-19 than general population. However there are no reported deaths of pregnant women from corona virus at the moment.
EFFECT OF COVID -19 ON PREGNANCY
Pregnant women do not appear more likely to contract COVID-19 than the general population. Reported cases 0f COVID-19 pneumonia so far in pregnancy are milder with good recovery rates.
Pregnant women with heart disease and obesity are at highest risk.
The corona virus epidemic increases the risk of perinatal anxiety and depression as well as domestic violence. Hence it is critically important to strengthen the support for women and enquiry about mental health is made at every contact to decrease the fear and anxiety
The virus spreads via human to human transmission through respiratory droplets sent into air when a infected person coughs or sneezes.
It also spreads when someone touches a surface infected by a person who has virus
HOW CAN PREGNANT WOMEN REDUCE THE RISK OF CATCHING CORONAVIRUS-
General instructions- similar to general population
The most important thing to do is to wash your hands regularly and effectively with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer as soon as you come from public places to your home or work place
.Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose frequently.
. Sneeze and cough into a tissue that you discard immediately or into your elbow.
. Avoid large gatherings( >50 people at same place).
. Social distancing is important to limit spread of virus.
.Do not use public transport and toilets .
. Do not to go to work or public areas.
. Hydration and adequate rest also are important in maintaining the health of immune system.
ANTENATAL CARE IN TIMES OF COVID-19
Pregnant women are advised attend antenatal care, with minimum visits at 12,20,28,36 weeks of gestation.
Fetal kick count to be checked daily.
Telehealth services to be consider as much as possible
COVID-19 AND PREGNANCY OUTCOMES
There does not appear to be any increased risk of miscarriage or other complications such as fetal anomalies for pregnant women who are infected with COVID-19, according to CDC.
Based on data from other coronaviruses such as SARS and MES, it is noted that pregnant women who get COVID-19 may have higher risk for some complications like preterm birth, but the data is extremely limited.
COVID-19 infection is currently not an indication for medical termination of pregnancy.
EFFECTS ON THE MOTHER
Majority of women with COVID-19 will experience early symptoms like mild or moderate cold/flu, a new continuous cough, high grade fevers with myalgia.
More severe symptoms that necessitate immediate medical intervention include pneumonia, marked shortness of breath, patient unable to cope with the symptoms anymore. These severe symptoms are widely described in older people, the immunosuppressed and in those with chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and chronic lung disease.
EFFECTS ON FETUS
A study of nine pregnant women who were infected with COVID-19 and had symptoms showed that none of their babies were affected by the virus. The virus was not present in amniotic fluid, the babies throat, or in the breast milk. The risk of passing the infection to the fetus appears to be probable but very low and there is no evidence of any fetal malformations or effects due to maternal infection with COVID-19.
COVID-19 AND LABOUR
As a precautionary approach, pregnant women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus when they go into labor, are advised to attend obstetric unit for birth, where the baby can be monitored continuously in terms of coping with labor and patient oxygen level can be monitored hourly. Hence it is not currently recommended to have a home birth.
There is currently no evidence to suggest it's safer to have caesarean section over vaginal birth. Also, there is no evidence that affected women cannot have epidural or a spinal block However, if respiratory condition of affected person suggests that urgent delivery would be needed, a cesarean birth may be recommended
All babies of women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 also have to be tested for the same. It is advised to have separate isolation [temporary]of the infected mother and her baby for 14 days
The main risk of breastfeeding is close contact between affected and the baby, as they may share infective air droplets, leading to infection of the baby after birth.
If you chose to breastfeed your baby, the following precautions are recommended-
. Wash your hands before touching baby, breast pumps or bottles
.consider wearing a face mask while breastfeeding.
avoid coughing or sneezing on to baby.
.if you chose to feed the baby with formula or expressed milk, it is recommended to follow strict adherence to sterilization guidelines.
BE SAFE FROM CORONA VIRUS INFECTION
BE SMART & INFORM YOURSELF ABOUT IT
BE KIND & SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER
BE READY TO FIGHT #COVID-19
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