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Explained By A Doctor: Is It Safe To Get Pregnant During Coronavirus?

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Among all of the hundreds of afflictions COVID-19 has provided us with, the dilemma regarding pregnancies is the most inevitable one. If you are someone who is facing concerns regarding pregnancy during COVID-19, we got your back as Dr Sudeshna Ray clarified some FAQs and busted a few myths related to the same.

Ray, who believes “COVID-19 affects the psyche more than the physique”, is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. She spoke regarding the common doubts related to pregnancy during COVID-19  in a video by SheThePeople. Here is all you need to know about the risks and safety of conceiving at times like a global pandemic.

How bad is a COVID-19 pregnancy?

Apart from the fact that COVID-19 has been claimed deadly by trusted organisations such as WHO and UNICEF, the virus has not been especially brutal to pregnant mothers or newborn babies born to COVID positive mother.

The above fact can be assured by comparing the death rates of other flu such as Spanish flu or H1N1 flu. The death rate of pregnant mothers was as high as 27 % for Spanish flu, and the death chances were 7% higher in pregnant mothers for the latter as compared to mothers without the flu.

COVID-19 on the other hand, fortunately, increases the chances of maternal death by only 0.02% to 0.2%.

Do Pregnant women tend to get more sick with COVID than non-pregnant women?

Your pregnancy will not affect your anti-bodies against COVID-19 or make you more vulnerable to the infection compared to non-pregnant women.

According to global research, dated from January 2020 to January 2021, the following points can be concluded:

Firstly, once pregnant women are infected by the virus, they tend to fall sicker and show more severe symptoms than non-pregnant women, making them a high-risk group.

Secondly, hospital admissions due to COVID-19 severeness before delivery has been notably increased.

Thirdly, there is a minute risk of fetal death, stillbirths, premature deaths and maternal depression when the expecting mother is infected.

Fourthly, and favourably, there has been no increase in the risk of miscarriage due to the infection from COVID-19.

Nevertheless, these conclusions from the mentioned studies are a result of global reports which might not reflect Indian data adequately. Indian studies have not noted any increased risk of COVID positive mothers till now.

Things to take care of in getting pregnant during COVID

As already mentioned, COVID-19 tends to have a more adverse effect on our mental health than our physical. Hence, it is a mandatory fro all infected patients to not panic, especially COVID positive mothers. Most of such mothers will assuredly recover without any complications or the need for any strong medications

Another must when it comes to being affected by COVID while you are pregnant is getting in touch with the doctor without shying away. A proper diet, rest and hydration are considered enough in a lot of registered cases.

Does COVID-19 have an impact on the development of the fetus?

According to researches so far, COVID-19 has no particular impact on the development of a child born to a COVID positive mother, unlike other viruses like Rubella or Chickenpox.

At which stage of the pregnancy COVID-19 is the most harmful?

Apart from the reduced risks of complications in the first and second trimester of gestation, the third stage has shown increased chances of complications including fetal deaths, premature births and sicker mothers if they are infected.

Is it safe to visit hospitals for pregnant mother during COVID?

Considering the fact that hospitals, even if they are treating COVID infection cases, have a separate ward of treatments, it is completely safe for a mother to visit their doctor physically in a hospital.

However, worldwide, healthcare systems are following a mixed protocol of seeing patients physically as well as on video consultations. At least one visit in each of the first and second trimester is needed as a physical consultation and the rest can be virtual. However, the third trimester will need more often physical consultation than virtual ones.

Is this a good time to plan a pregnancy?

Socially and logistically, this can be considered quite an ideal time to plan for a pregnancy. However, if your previous pregnancy was problematic or you are suffering from any severe disease which may include diabetes, blood pressure extremeness, previous preterm births, this is probably not the perfect time to plan so.

This is because such conditions will require more often consultations from the doctor or more often visits to the hospital, increasing your chances of being exposed to the virus.

Are there any restrictions during deliveries if the mother has COVID?

The delivery procedure will not be affected by your COVID infection status. If you are assigned the caesarian method, it will because of some other reason.

COVID restrictions for deliveries include restraints on visitors with the patient, even if they don’t have COVID. Only one visitor will be allowed to escort the pregnant mother to the hospital and stay till the discharge. No visitors, including the partner or other family members, will be allowed to visit the new mother after the delivery.

Can a new mom be allowed to breastfeed if she is COVID positive?

The significance of breastfeeding is far more than the risk of getting infected by COVID-19 in a newborn. If the mother has active disease, she will have the choice of giving her newborn expressed breast milk and a few days later, she can even breastfeed her child with a mask on.

Breastmilk is reported to have antibodies that can be actually protective against COVID for the newborn.

Can I get vaccinated during pregnancy?

The Government of Indian and the Health Ministry has till date not given permission to vaccination against COVID-19 during pregnancy. So although the vaccine has not proved to be harmful to either the mother or the fetus, you cant go for vaccination during pregnancy.

However, there are no restrictions on being vaccinated against COVID-19 while planning for a pregnancy. There is no need to defer the pregnancy or to defer the vaccination just because you are trying for a pregnancy.

Moreover, if you accidentally find out about your pregnancy after you are vaccinated, there is absolutely no need of terminating the pregnancy as the COVID-19 vaccine has no proven harmful effect on the baby.

Watch the full video here: