How pregnant women should take care of themselves during COVID-19 pandemic?

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Neucrad Health May 6, 2020

Pregnancy is one of the magnificent phases in the life of women. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed these blissful days of expecting mothers into stressful moments. Pregnant women are living in the constant fear of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus and trying their best to shield their baby from the outbreak. The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) have found out from the available data that vertical transmission (transmission from mother to baby) of SARS-CoV-2 virus is possible in pregnant women. They have cautioned would-be mothers (especially those having cardiac ailment) to practise social distancing and avoid contact with unknown people. Have a look at some of the common queries concerning prenatal care during the pandemic.

Woman Sitting on Chair

Is it possible to transmit COVID-19 infection from an infected mother to the foetus?

Currently, there are limited data related to the vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus from expecting mothers to babies. A study conducted by Hui Zeng and his team in March, 2020 established the presence of COVID-19 antibodies among new-born babies of infected mothers [3]. It points out that the foetus was exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 inside the uterus, leading to the development of antibodies. However, scientists could not detect the presence of the virus in the umbilical cord blood of new-borns.

Another study published in the Lancet Journal in February 2020 pointed out that there was no evidence of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the amniotic fluid or umbilical cord blood of six babies born to COVID-19 infected mothers [2]. Finally, it would be wise to mention that all these studies were conducted within a limited population. So, it is better for expecting mothers to practise all the precautionary measures as far as possible. There are reports of a few days old babies becoming infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In most of these cases, close family members were the carrier of the infection.

Is there a higher risk of miscarriage or preterm labour among coronavirus infected mothers?

Concept Of Covid-19 In Red Background

Studies have proved that mothers with a severe viral infection like SARS (in 2002-2003) had a slightly higher risk of going through a miscarriage. However, still now, there are no studies among pregnant women with novel coronavirus infection. Expecting mothers with viral respiratory ailments like influenza have a higher tendency of giving birth to babies with low birth weight [4]. They also show evidence of going into preterm labour. Moreover, the occurrence of high fever during the gestation can also lead to certain congenital disabilities in some rare cases. However, chances of disabilities in children among mothers with severe viral infections are still very low. So, expecting mothers should not feel stressed out after reading these reports.

What are the best ways of going through prenatal check-ups during the pandemic?

Under the standard scenario, an expecting mother so through approximately fourteen prenatal check-ups. The number of clinic visits can be decreased to half if pregnant women take help of telemedicine. These days, most Gynaecologists are advocating patients to opt for virtual meetings unless there is a medical emergency. They can report their blood sugar and pressure readings to their respective doctors through email, WhatsApp or SMS and seek medical guidance. In the case of other medical issues, expecting mothers can arrange a video call with doctors. Gynaecologists will evaluate the medical conditions and may ask for a physical meeting in complicated cases.

This was some standard queries and medical care of pregnant women during the COVID-19 crisis. Finally, we must remember that the current situation is a temporary phase, and would-be mothers should not feel stressed out. However, they should practise social distancing and avoid going out of the house unless the situation is critical.

Reference:

1.     General guidance for pregnant women, mothers, and their newborns during the pandemic

2.     Clinical characteristics and intrauterine vertical transmission potential of COVID-19 infection in nine pregnant women: a retrospective review of medical records

3.     Antibodies in Infants Born to Mothers With COVID-19 Pneumonia

4.     Effects of influenza on pregnant women and infants

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