Pregnancy is a special time in the life of every woman. It brings a lot of excitement and happiness. But, the outburst of COVID-19, has spread a lot of nervousness, uncertainty and terror within people. Pregnant women are found to be more susceptible to this deadly virus. It becomes very important to understand about this disease, its impact on expecting mother and baby, and preventive measures to control it.
Should a pregnant woman need to be tested for COVID-19?
Yes. Changes in immune systems, and bodies, makes pregnant women to become severely affected by a few respiratory infections. As pregnant woman is more likely to get infected by this virus, WHO recommends to test all those pregnant women who are identified with symptoms of COVID-19. Such women should be tested on a priority basis. If identified positive, they should be given specialized care.
What are the ways in which a pregnant woman can protect herself from COVID-19?
Here are a few instructions that can help you remain protected against the disease:
- Wash your hands after every thirty minutes using an alcohol-based handwash, or with normal soap and water.
- Practice social distancing and avoid crowded spaces.
- Do not touch your eyes, mouth, and nose.
- Wear face masks to protect your nose, and mouth properly. Wash it after every use.
- Always use tissue at the time of coughing, and sneezing. Dispose it in a dustbin immediately.
- If you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 disease such as fever, difficulty in breathing, or cough, then seek medical assistance at the earliest.
- Make sure you attend your routine care appointments regularly.
Is it possible for COVID-19 to pass from an infected woman to her newborn or unborn fetus?
There is still not much reliable information available about passing of the virus from pregnant women to her fetus during pregnancy or newborn after delivery. There is no evidence of the presence of virus in breastmilk, or amniotic fluid of an infected pregnant woman.
What type of care should be provided to a COVID-19 infected woman during pregnancy and post-delivery?
High quality care should be provided to all pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers who are either suspected or confirmed for COVID-19 infections. This includes postnatal, newborn, antenatal, intrapartum, and mental health care. It is important that she should be treated with dignity, and respect.
She should be given a choice to select her companion who would remain with her during delivery. There has to be precise and clear communication by maternity staff members. She should also be provided appropriate pain release medication. A COVID-19 infected pregnant woman should also have the liberty to choose birth position.
Is it safe for COVID-19 infected women to breastfeed her baby?
Due to absence of convincing evidence of presence of COVID-19 in breastmilk of infected woman, it is completely safe for women with COVID-19 to breastfeed her baby. However, it is important to follow below instructions every time when you breastfeed your baby.
- Wear clean face masks whenever you feed your baby,
- Wash your hands properly before and after you touch the baby,
- Maintain best level of hygiene by regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that is touched by infected pregnant woman.
Is it safe to hold my newborn baby if I am affected by COVID-19?
Yes. It is safe. Close contact and exclusive breastfeeding are needed to make the bond between the two of you to prosper. It is advised to
- Breastfeed safely, using good respiratory face masks,
- Hold your baby skin-to-skin,
- Share a quiet place with your baby
- Wash your hands after every physical contact with the baby, and
- Disinfect all surfaces that comes in contact with mother, and the baby.
Is giving child birth in a healthcare clinic, or hospital is good option amid Coronavirus outbreak?
The selection of the place for child birth depends on the preference of woman, her present situation, and the health care system. It is required that a woman should discuss their health care professional to determine the safest place for her.
In some hospitals there is separate entrance for the COVID-19 infected patients and for uninfected patients. Home birth is considered to be the safest and comfortable option for women. However, it is not possible in a few nations. Another safe place to give childbirth is in hotels under supervision of midwives and health care professionals so that the woman doesn’t need to visit the hospital.
How to protect my new born baby from the COVID-19 virus?
In addition to using respiratory hygiene, and bodily hygiene, you should not ask for visitors to visit your home right now. This will ensure that your baby does not comes in contact with other children. Spend quiet time with your family and remain protected.