Coronavirus Outbreak: Pregnancy and Afterbirth Care

We can imagine the stress moms-to-be and new moms must be going through due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and all the associated misinformation.

If you’re pregnant and/or due to give birth soon, it’s best to get information from trusted sources. At ABC for Moms, we did all our research from verified sources and are bringing you all the information you need, right here!

Here is what you need to know:

Information on this virus is changing everyday. Its a new virus and we do not know much about it. Most data has been collected from studies in China but the number of cases are limited.

One of the first studies from China involving just nine pregnant women with COVID-19 showed the following:

All these women had caesarean sections, none were seriously unwell and all mothers and babies recovered.

The study found none of the babies appeared to be infected. Also, the breastmilk was not shown to have the virus. It’s not clear why these babies were born by caesarean section. China already has a very high caesarean section rate, so causal relationship can not be confirmed until more cases are studied.

The World Health Organisation’s new guidelines state:

“there is no evidence that pregnant women present with different signs or symptoms or are at higher risk of severe illness. So far, there is no evidence on mother-to-child transmission when infection manifests in the third trimester … WHO recommends that caesarean section should ideally be undertaken only when medically justified.”

Currently available data on COVID-19 does not indicate that pregnant women are at increased risk. However, pregnant women are known to be at greater risk of severe morbidity and mortality from other respiratory infections such as influenza and SARS-CoV. 

However, this doesn’t seem to be the case with COVID-19. In an analysis of 147 women with COVID-19, only 8% had severe disease and 1% were in critical condition. That’s lower than the general population.

More men than women are affected with COVID19 and women are less likely to get severely ill and die.

As such, pregnant women should be considered an at-risk population for COVID-19.

Preventive measure for pregnant women:

You should make sure to take all necessary measure to protect yourself :

  • Avoid public places and large gatherings
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Ask people who are unwell to avoid visiting
  • Washing hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer 
  • Do not travel
  • Increase your vitamin C intake
  • Stay hydrated

Its preferable for women who think they may have contracted COVID-19 or having symptoms to go for a teleconsultation or get connected with a doctor on the phone, rather than visiting a hospital and exposing themselves to the highly contagious infection. 

At ABC for Moms, we are offering bulk teleconsults(multiple sessions) and health consultations with a doctor over the phone at a very nominal fee, so you can stay connected with a doctor without having to step outside! Drop us a message or WhatsApp on 03212593194 to book one.

Call your hospital or birth center to be sure of the measures that are being taken to limit spread. Wear a mask to your antenatal visit and keep a sanitizer handy. Change clothes as soon as you get back home.

Can the baby get the infection in the uterus?

The placenta is a very efficient filter and mostly protects babies from harm. But, the Zika virus was an exception to this.

Currently it is unclear if COVID-19 can cross through the transplacental route to the fetus. In limited recent case series of infants born to mothers infected with COVID-19 published in the peer-reviewed literature, none of the infants have tested positive for COVID-19.

A baby born to a mother in the UK with COVID-19 recently tested positive soon after birth but it has not been confirmed whether the transmission was in the womb (unlikely) or after birth (more likely). The baby is doing fine and the mother is being treated.

Babies with COVID-19 show mild symptoms and have a good recovery.

A COVID-19 diagnosis should not lead to a decision for an early birth, unless beneficial to the mother due to her overall condition.

Childbirth is a beautiful experience, we understand your concern but staying positive and stress free is the best thing you can do. Follow the measures above, up your nutrition, stay hydrated and feel free to get intouch with us!

Source: (1) World Health Organization. (2) American Council of Obstetrician and Gynecologist. (3)

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