Pregnancy brings with it a flurry of emotions. On one hand, you are extremely eager to see your baby for the first time – the baby that is currently one with you.
On the other hand, there are a lot of physiological changes that you’re undergoing, which makes pregnancy a pretty stressful period.
And now, with the world fighting the COVID 19 pandemic, the entire situation of being pregnant has suddenly become extremely overwhelming. And, pretty understandably so.
The situation is all the grimmer since the COVID 19 is a seemingly newer strain of the coronavirus, and the scientists are still trying to figure out its origin as well as possible medications for treating its symptoms.
Under such circumstances, it is only obvious to have innumerable questions lurking in your mind especially if you’re pregnant or any of your loved ones is. In this article, we shall try to address some of the most asked questions surrounding pregnancy and coronavirus. Take a look –
1. Does Pregnancy Make You More Vulnerable To COVID 19?
Unlike SARS, another strain of the coronavirus with a history of affecting pregnant women more severely, COVID 19 has not shown any tendency towards predominantly affecting pregnant women.
Hence, if you can take normal precautionary measures and refrain from venturing out apart from health checkups, you should be doing just fine.
2. Do You Feel You Have COVID 19 Symptoms Or Have Come In Contact With A Positive Person?
If you think your symptoms match that of COVID 19 or if you have come in contact with a person tested positive for the novel coronavirus, please do not panic.
Instead, visit your nearby hospital or talk to your family physician without delay.
If s/he asks you to watch your symptoms for a couple of days, do that being in quarantine. And if you are asked to get yourself tested, do so.
Remember getting tested is the first step to recovery.
You can visit ‘Symptoms of COVID-19’ resource from the Centers for Disease Control for more information.
3. Does Getting Affected With COVID 19 Before Delivery Mean Harmful For The Baby?
As of now, there is no evidence of COVID 19 leading to birth defects.
However, not just this virus, if you’re affected by any severe fever during the initial phases of your pregnancy, there are chances of birth defects.
However, remember that’s pretty rare.
In the case of expecting mothers facing respiratory problems in the third trimester, the babies are generally born prematurely.
In fact, data suggests that some babies born to COVID 19 patients have been born prematurely though it is not yet clear if the novel coronavirus is to be blamed for the same.
4. In Case You Contract The Virus, How Can You Keep The Baby And Yourself Safe?
As of now, there isn’t any particular cure or over-the-counter medication available for coronavirus. Hence, the best way to ensure safety to both you and your unborn baby is to seek medical help at the soonest.
However, remember that COVID 19 doesn’t cause much ailment in approximately 80% of patients.
So, you probably won’t even have to visit the hospital. Just taking the medicines prescribed by your doctor and keeping yourself in quarantine or complete rest will just be great.
In case you do develop breathing issues, let your doctor be known immediately.
5. Can A Breastfeeding Mother Transfer The Virus To Her Child?
Till now, no evidence of breastmilk containing strains of the novel coronavirus has been found by scientists.
So, if you’re a new mother showcasing mild symptoms of COVID 19, you can still breastfeed your child after taking requisite precautions.
However, if you’re severely ill and cannot handle your baby well now, you can express milk that can be safely fed to the baby by others.
Breast milk or the amniotic fluid is extremely important for the baby, hence not feeding it can prove to be bad for the child.
6. Is It Possible To Pass On The Coronavirus While Delivery Or Being Pregnant
There have been some reports on newborns getting infected by the virus.
However, there’s no report vouching the newborns being infected right in their mothers’ womb.
Coronavirus, as we all know, predominantly spreads from the sick person through respiratory droplets.
Hence, experts believe that the newborns contract the virus from their mothers or caregivers after birth.
7. Is Going For Prenatal Visits Advised During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The best way to ascertain if you need the regular prenatal checkup is by talking to your medical practitioner.
If you have a fairly healthy pregnancy, you may be just asked to keep track of your blood pressure and blood sugar levels at home alongside tracking the baby’s movements (if you’re in advanced stages of pregnancy).
You may be even given an online or over-the-phone consultation.
8. Do I Need To Reschedule My Baby Shower?
It’s understandable that baby showers mean a lot to expectant mothers, especially in the case of first pregnancies. However, at this point in time, it is advisable to avoid large gatherings or groups.
In case you’re a family living under the same roof, you can have a private baby shower at your home.
However, if that’s not the case, it is better to postpone your baby shower to a later date.
After all, prevention is always better than cure, right?
9. Will My Delivery Go As Planned In Case I Contract COVID 19?
As of now, there is no evidence regarding the futility of vaginal deliveries in times of the corona pandemic. However, the choice of delivery in case you contract COVID 19 solely depends on your medical practitioner.
According to a group of medical researchers, if a mother has the novel coronavirus, leaving the vernix – the waxy fluid on newborns’ skin – on for about 24 hours. This fluid has antimicrobial properties that help in keeping off infections.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests isolating newborns born to COVID 19 positive mothers in order to monitor their situations for symptoms.
10. Is It Possible For A Mother To Touch And Hold Her Baby In Case She Has COVID 19?
According to UNICEF, a mother should not only hold her baby but also give skin-to-skin on delivery even if she has COVID 19.
This practice ensures all-around health for the baby. However, the maintenance of healthy respiratory hygiene protocols is an absolute must.
One thing that every expecting woman must remember is that social distancing, washing hands more often, and wearing masks at public places are the keys to beat COVID 19. Also, since the hospitals now are not allowing more than one person to accompany an expecting mother, it is recommended to know the hospital guidelines thoroughly and not to flout any rules. Lastly, keep your mental health good amidst this pandemic in order to have a happy and sound pregnancy.