With the novel coronavirus upon us, the world has become a shadow of its former self. And yet, amidst the headlines of lockdowns and curfews, barren roads, shuttered offices and stock market freefalls, the life inside you continues to bloom, resilient to the trappings of the outside world. Being pregnant during this time can be difficult, and you likely have several questions about the virus's potential dangers on you and your unborn child. Here, we shed some light on COVID-19, its symptoms, and its possible implications on you and your baby.
Symptoms of Coronavirus in pregnant women
While there are still a lot of unknowns about the novel Coronavirus, cases suggest that the virus does not affect pregnant women any more severely than it does other healthy adults. The majority of pregnant women who do contract the Coronavirus are likely to experience mild to moderate symptoms akin to those of a cold or flu.
Effects of Coronavirus on unborn babies
There is currently no evidence that points to an increased risk of miscarriage or developmental problems to a baby whose mother has a confirmed case of Coronavirus. However, there are several measures you can take to keep yourself safe from the virus. These include regular hand washing, avoiding gatherings and public areas, working from home, practising self-isolation, and distancing yourself from family members with a fever, cough or cold. If you're in a profession that requires public interaction, consider requesting your employer to change your role on compassionate grounds.
Possible exposure of pregnant women to Coronavirus
A fever, a dry cough and a cold are all symptoms of COVID-19; but they could just as equally be a regular strain of flu. Nevertheless, if you do have any of these symptoms, it's important to protect yourself and others by staying in self-isolation for at least seven days. Avoid visiting your obstetrician during this time and consider seeking counsel on the phone instead. At present in India, only people with severe symptoms are being tested for the Coronavirus, so if your symptoms worsen, you have worries about your baby, or you do not recover within seven days, contact your obstetrician for further guidance.
Testing positive for Coronavirus while pregnant
If you're diagnosed with COVID-19, inform your obstetrician immediately. If your symptoms are mild, you might be advised to rest at home. If you exhibit more extreme symptoms, however, hospitalised treatment might be suggested.
Pregnancy worries during self-isolation
It's normal to have worries during pregnancy—especially in the prevailing climate. If you're worried about the health of your unborn child, and are under self-isolation, take heart. Reach out to your medical team to allay your fears and seek guidance on how to move forward. If your doctor advises you to visit the hospital, exercise caution while travelling. Travel by car or arrange another mode of private transport, and alert the reception staff the moment you arrive. Being proactive can help you get the help you need when you need it, and minimise exposure to other patients and staff.
Labour and childbirth with Coronavirus
There is no present evidence to suggest that vaginal deliveries present greater risk than caesarean sections for expectant women with COVID-19. If you have already discussed a birth plan with your obstetricianat BirthRight by Rainbow Hospitals, seek comfort in knowing that your plan will be honoured as far as possible. For some women, however, maternal respiratory problems might require continual fetal monitoring and create the need for an emergency caesarean section.
Transmitting coronavirus to baby during pregnancy
There isn't enough research to support whether or not the Coronavirus can be transmitted to a baby before or after birth. In the few cases where newborn babies have been diagnosed with Coronavirus, it remains uncertain whether these babies contracted the virus in the womb or just after childbirth. Researchers are of the opinion that the risk of coronavirus to an unborn baby is minimal.
Breastfeeding with Coronavirus
While breast milk itself shows no evidence of being a transmitter of Coronavirus, the close proximity between you and your baby during breastfeeding may result in the sharing of infectious respiratory droplets. In general, however, it is accepted that the universal benefits of breastfeeding overshadow any potential risks of disease spread.
Coronavirus preparedness at BirthRight by Rainbow Hospitals
At BirthRight by Rainbow Hospitals, our army of specialists is committed to keeping expectant and new mothers safe from COVID-19. Our stringent sanitisation protocols, speed to service and specialty care units reflect our preparedness to battle the Coronavirus on your and your unborn child's behalf. If you present symptoms like fever, a dry cough or a runny nose, make sure to inform your medical team ahead of any upcoming appointments. This way, we can make the necessary provisions for your visit to protect you and those around you.
In light of the government's current directives, it is important that you maintain social distancing to minimise your risk during pregnancy. Taking the necessary precautions can serve as a vital shield against the Coronavirus and provide you and your baby a halo of protection for childbirth and beyond.