With the current outbreak of COVID-19 all around the world, it’s natural to be worried, especially when you are pregnant. With inadequate information on pregnancy and coronavirus, it can be tricky to think of what to do and what not to do during this time.
While it appears that pregnant women are not more likely to be critically unwell than any other healthy individuals in case they are infected by COVID-19, it is too early to establish this as a fact.
This strain of the virus is still fairly new and its effects under different scenarios are currently being studied. There’s a lot of changes happening to you when you are pregnant and this makes you more susceptible to certain infections. Pregnant women, in general, are also at risk of other viral respiratory infections like seasonal influenza, so needless to say, for COVID-19 too, it is imperative that they protect themselves well.
Can COVID-19 cause complications during pregnancy or miscarriage?
There is currently no evidence to support the theory that the virus can cross the placenta to reach the unborn baby and cause any complications. It is also unknown that a COVID-19 infection can cause miscarriage or birth defects in babies after delivery.
Can you pass on the infection to your baby?
It is unlikely for unborn babies to get infected through their pregnant mothers. However, once they are out of the womb, they are at risk of being infected if they come in close contact with anybody who is infected, including their mother.
However, the good news is that there are no reports to suggest that the virus can contaminate the amniotic fluid or breastmilk of an infected woman. This means, in case you’re infected by COVID-19 and have just delivered a baby, you can still express your milk and get it fed to your baby by someone else.
Symptoms of COVID-19 in pregnant women
The symptoms of this infection are similar to that of the flu. This includes dry cough, fever, sore throat, chills, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing. Sneezing is not a symptom attributed to the infection.
While these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you’re infected by COVID-19, you are at risk if:
- You have come in close contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19
- You have recently visited a country that’s experiencing a severe COVID-19 outbreak.
How can pregnant women protect themselves from COVID-19?
First things first, follow the government’s guidelines and the lockdown protocols. Focus on these aspects specifically—
- Stay at home and engage yourself with productive activities like art, music, and other hobbies that you might have.
- If you’re a working woman, your company would have already asked you to work from home. Abide by the WFH guidelines and don’t stress yourself.
- You can take your daily strolls inside the house, since staying physically active during pregnancy is a must. Do yoga, meditation, and low-intensity workouts that are suitable during pregnancy. You can consult a gynaecologist online to help you understand which exercises are optimum for you.
- Taking adequate rest is also a must during this time. Do not strain yourself. Your mental health is very important. Practice breathing exercises, have a healthy diet and get enough sleep.
- Practice social distancing and do not allow the entry of outsiders to your house. Your health is the only prime thing right now along with your family’s.
- In case you need to step outside, maintain a good distance from other people. A walk in the park is not advisable during a lockdown. However, make sure the duration you are out for, is less. Cover yourself well and wear a mask. Avoid touching common touchpoints like elevator buttons, staircase handles, doorknobs, etc and then touching your face. Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer handy.
- Keep in touch with your doctor online. Avoid frequent visits to the hospital or clinic as much as possible unless it’s an emergency.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
It is advised not to drink alcohol when you’re pregnant. Doctors suggest that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can have detrimental effects on the unborn baby. Drinking alcohol in the first trimester can lead to a high risk of miscarriage, premature birth or fetal alcohol syndrome(FAS). FAS can cause brain damage, growth abnormalities and also speech difficulties, ADHD amongst other issues.
Other than this, you need to practice the usual hygiene basics against COVID-19 as much as possible. This includes:
- Not touching your eyes, mouth, or nose with your hands
- Avoiding close contact with people who seem sick
- Staying away from people when you are sick
- Washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
- Cleaning and disinfecting objects that are frequently touched, using an alcohol-based disinfectant
- Disposing off tissues or napkins after use carefully
If you follow these guidelines religiously, you’re less likely to get infected by COVID-19.
If you are experiencing symptoms like cough, fever, sore throat or breathing difficulties, it is advised that you consult a doctor as soon as possible. Get your symptoms assessed by top doctors on your phone on the MFine app.
We wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy!