COVID-19 has left our lives in shambles. It has shifted the entire world towards what we call the ‘new normal. Right from distancing to even our closest of ones to changing our habits, people are experiencing all sorts of doubts and discomfort about planning their future. Amidst all of this, COVID-19 infection during pregnancy is indeed an explorable subject in trying times.
How does COVID-19 affect pregnancy?
While the data from the last two COVID-19 waves and studies suggest no direct link between pregnancy and COVID-19, yet precautions need to be exercised to safeguard the health of the mother and foetus. The reason is the change in the body of a pregnant woman. Pregnancy in itself involves a lot of mechanisms that alter the immune system of a pregnant woman. Owing to this, the body’s response towards different infections may change which may result in health complications. The symptoms may become severe if a woman is infected with COVID-19.
The case studies of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy reported less severe symptoms and a good rate of recovery. The majority of pregnant women developed mild flu-like symptoms and pneumonia. The other set of pregnant women with previous health issues reported chest pain which required immediate medical attention.
These reports throw light on the importance of taking good care and practicing immunity building habits during pregnancy to keep the health of mother and baby in check.
Breastfeeding and COVID-19
Recent studies suggest that breast milk is not likely to spread the virus to the baby. However, vaccination is recommended for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or expecting in the future. If you have COVID-19 and choose to breastfeed, the common precautions you need to exercise are:
1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds.
2. Wear a mask during breastfeeding and whenever you are within 6 feet of your baby.
3. Use your breast pump, if possible, and wear a mask while expressing the breast milk.
4. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before touching the pump or bottle parts.
5. Make sure the pump and bottle are cleaned thoroughly after each use.
6. Make sure that the person feeding the breast milk to the baby is fully vaccinated and not exposed to you.
7. Make sure that the person feeding is wearing a mask during feeding.
What Kind of COVID-19 Symptoms May Occur During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women are at increased risk of catching the infection. Pre-existing health conditions including diabetes, heart problems, or blood pressure may complicate the health of pregnant women and foetus during COVID-19.
The common symptoms observed during pregnancy are cold and fever followed by pneumonia in some cases. The symptoms are mild and manageable with proper COVID-19 treatment protocols.
What Are The Risks Associated with Pregnancy and COVID-19?
There’s still a lack of evidence to suggest that COVID-19 exposure during pregnancy may pass on to the foetus. The opinions of healthcare providers around the world vary from what may happen next when a pregnant woman comes in contact with the virus. While some doctors believe the baby may fall prey to the virus, others find it highly unlikely. The best way to avoid any health speculations is to prevent catching an infection in the first place.
What Precautions Should Pregnant Women Take?
To avoid COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, the women should exercise proper COVID-19 behaviour and keep a tab on their health. The common precautions to take are:
1. Social distancing.
2. Staying 6 feet away from others including the family members that may be at high risk of infection.
3. Taking vaccinations and immunizing against COVID-19 and other diseases.
4. Wearing a mask even at home (if required).
5. Consult an obstetrician in case of any discomfort.
The battle with COVID-19 is not over yet. The entire world is struggling to bring life into the chaos. With limited data to suggest any health outcome, it is best to consult an obstetrician and follow the precautions suggested by the doctor.
Consult our expert obstetrician to guide you on your journey to fight COVID-19 during pregnancy by clicking here.