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WHAT PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT COVID 19

WHAT PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT COVID 19

Corona virus posses spike like structure on their surface – known as (S-protein). “CORONA” derives its name from this crown like appearance only. It is quite possible that virus would have originated from Bat (mammal) and jumped from animal chain to the human chain. It spreads through human to human transmission- via small and large droplets and surface to human transmission via viruses present on surfaces for a maximum of 3 days depending on the surface type. Virus enters the mucous –membrane of Eyes, Nose and Mouth. Spike protein gets attached to the surface of human cell. (via receptors-ACE2). These receptors are present throughout our body like heart, kidney, blood vessels, liver, central nervous system .These receptors are great target for corona virus. Once the virus enters, it turns the cell into a factory and starts producing millions of copies of it. This when coughed, sneezed or breathed out can infect several human beings within no time.

Becoming Mother is one of the biggest achievements for a woman. It is quite natural for a pregnant woman to worry in this period of Pandemic Covid19 crisis. She is concerned about herself and her unborn baby. Many questions must be arising in her mind. Many mysteries about this Corona virus is yet to be unfolded, but on the basis of WHO news, evidence based researches, scientist verdicts and Guidelines available till date I am summarizing the answers to a few common questions which might be worrying you a lot.

Q1. How to protect myself from Corona?

Ans. Follow all the advice of your doctor and government guidelines.

Q2. Can I plan for baby-shower (a ritual function) or one should postpone during this Covid-19 crisis?

Ans. This is a function to seek blessings from near and dear ones. It gives an inner sense of happiness and gratification to the expecting mother. Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) recommends social distancing and limited social gathering. This function can be organized with limitations if cannot be avoided.

Q3-Can I travel if I wish to have my delivery at my home town or mother’s place?

Ans. One should avoid travelling. Moreover, medical facilities may not be sufficient/or available during travel, even if, one travels by his/her own vehicle. CDC recommends social distancing. Keep in touch with the nearest hospital / maternity center and get yourself enrolled for delivery, to avoid last minute concerns.

Q4- What precautions one should take in case of fever and cold?

Ans. Not to worry but not to ignore also. Keep a record of temperature, consult your doctor. Every cold and cough is not Covid. Drink plenty of liquids for adequate hydration. Take freshly cooked food, juicy fruits – rich in vitamin C and vegetables to boost your immune system. Use tissue while sneezing and coughing and discard it immediately OR sneeze into your elbow.

Q5.What is the risk of pregnant women to become sick during Covid pandemic?

Ans-There is no evidence that pregnant women are more affected with corona virus in comparison to non –pregnant women or men. But pregnant women are considered as “Vulnerable population “for any Flu –like infection. If a woman catches cold during pregnancy they suffer for longer duration and are likely to experience more serious illness than general population.

Q6. What are the chances of passing virus to her baby, if mother becomes Covid 19 positive?

Ans- Consult your doctor immediately. You may need to be kept under observation and quarantined. No evidence is available till now that your baby will be affected with covid 19 while inside your womb.

Q7. Can a covid 19 positive mother, breast feed her baby ?

Ans- Currently there is no evidence of presence of virus in breast milk. But if delivery occurs during this period, chances of vertical transmission of virus (from mother to baby while feeding) cannot be denied. Till now- 2 cases have reported presence of virus infection in new born babies after 30 hours of delivery. (On 24th March- Shielding measures were included in guidelines) In such situation mother should use face shield, mask and follow hand washing and hygiene guidelines.

Q8. Whether pregnant women should continue her regular prenatal visits?

Ans-Guidelines say that one should try to minimize exposure with people. But number of visits can be reduced. Telephonic consultation can also be done. During early pregnancy, once intrauterine pregnancy is documented by an ultrasound, next visit can be postponed till 12 weeks when Nuchal scan and screening is done. Another set of medicines will be given by your obstetrician. Next visit is mandatory at completion of fifth month only. Level 2 (anomaly scan) should be done between 19th to 22ndweeks. Tetanus toxoid first shot is also given. During this covid pandemic further follow up consultation can be done via telephone unless some other risk factors are there. Women can monitor the wellness of their baby by keeping a watch of baby movement.Routinely -.level 3 scan is done after 8th month and Tdp shot is given.

Q9-Can someone accompany the pregnant women inside the room while getting ultrasound scan?

Ans-During this period of corona pandemic, majority of hospitals are limiting the visitors inside the hospital, keeping in mind the Asymptomatic carriers of corona virus. Social distancing is mandatory and the ultrasound room is not always very spacious. Ultrasonologist might get distracted with the virtual presence of many people. This can prevent the doctor from doing their documentation properly

Q10.What precautions to be taken if a pregnant women has travelled from a Red zone area OR came in contact with a corona positive person?

Ans-Incubation period of virus is from 2 to 14 days. It is quite possible that a person is asymptomatic but can spread virus. Consult your doctor and inform. Doctormay not call you in routine OPD but will call you in another isolated right place alone, restricting number of visitors, following all precautionary measures. Maternity units are taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of virus.

 Getting infected with covid19 requires significant exposure –Face to face contact within 6 feet distance and that to be sustained for more than 3 minutes to 10 minutes. Hence chances of catching covid19 from a passing interaction in a public is minimal.

Q11.Whether my spouse will be allowed inside delivery room during this covid pandemic?

Ans- Actually this has to be decided by your own obstetrician. Social distancing is the first and foremost important thing to be followed and there should be minimum number of people present inside the maternity ward. But if presence of husband has some psychological effect, he may be allowed with all precautionary measures (PPE, mask, gloves, shoe covers, goggles etc)

Ans- Actually this has to be decided by your own obstetrician. Social distancing is the first and foremost important thing to be followed and there should be minimum number of people present inside the maternity ward. But if presence of husband has some psychological effect, he may be allowed with all precautionary measures (PPE, mask, gloves, shoe covers, goggles etc)

NHS GUIDANCE on SELF ISOLATION—

-Not to go to public area, school, work -place

-Not to use public transport

-Stay at home and not allow visitors

-Open windows to ventilate rooms

-Separate themselves from other members of their households as far as possible, using their own towels, crockery and utensilsand eating at different times.

-Use friends, family or delivery services to work, but advice them to leave the items outside.

GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND THEIR ATTENDENTS TO FOLLOW—

  1. Regular hand washing
  2. Use atissue when you or anyone in your family coughs or sneeze, discard this and wash your hands.
  3. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of corona virus. This include high temperature and /or new and continuous cough.
  4. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  5. Work from home where possible
  6. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that –pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
  7. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media.
  8. Use telephone or online services to contact your doctor or essential services.

CLASSICAL SYMPTOMS OF COVID 19

Fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sorethroat, change or loss of smell and taste.

Care during pregnancy is essential and regular interval checkups are designed in such a way to reduce the risk of complications , early diagnosis of foetal abnormalities and timely intervention in high risk cases. Not visiting your doctor may have bad repercussions on you and your baby. It is advisable and important for you to attend and remain in touch with your maternity team even in this period of –corona pandemic and follow their scheduled antenatal visits.

 Hospitals, maternity units, doctors are doing their best to take care of their pregnant women and minimize the spread of corona virus

So don’t be reluctant coming to hospital. Be punctual in your timely consultation with your obstetrician, seeking advice and following their instructions. While going for antenatal visit- Always wear a mask-(2 layer cotton cloth, dupatta or scarf), carry your own sanitizer, water bottle and dry snacks (optional).

“Enjoy safe Motherhood during this Covid 19 crisis pandemic.”

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