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Pregnant during a pandemic? Here's everything you need to know
20 July 2020
Pregnancy should be a delightful time in a woman's life, filled with the joy and anticipation of starting a new family or growing an existing one. However, being pregnant during a pandemic, like COVID-19, is bound to cause anxiety and worry. The uncertainty of the situation and the million questions in your mind would certainly be overwhelming. But remember, just like COVID-19, stress and worry can also adversely affect your unborn child. Hence, it is advisable to approach this situation objectively and keep both you and your child safe.
To help you during this unique journey you are on, we have answered a few common queries that you or your family members may have in this situation. These questions have been answered, bearing in mind a wide audience, and it's best to consult with a professional who would take your unique needs into account while giving advice.
1. How can pregnant women protect themselves against COVID-19?
Following the same precautions that authorities have proposed for everyone can reduce the risk of getting the virus.
• Wash your hands regularly
• Avoid being around sick people
• Practice social distancing and avoid going out
• Disinfect things that come in contact with others continuously
• Avoid touching your face, nose or mouth too much
2. Am I more at risk if I'm pregnant?
Studies have found no evidence that pregnant women are at higher risk of developing the virus. But objectively speaking, a pregnant woman may be more compromised than others in terms of immunity, especially if a chronic condition like diabetes or hypertension already exists.
Hence, it is advisable to be extra-cautious and follow all the necessary social distancing and personal hygiene rules recommended by your doctor.
3. What should pregnant women do if they think they might have coronavirus?
First, identify the symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms usually include high fever, sore throat, chills, headaches, upset stomach and body muscle aches. If you are experiencing all of these, it is advisable to call your doctor and inform them of the symptoms. This is to restrict the spread of the virus, in case you do have it. Your doctor will be able to guide you on further steps.
4. Should I continue prenatal visits?
Prenatal visits are imperative to gauge the growth of your unborn child and to ensure that there are no complications. However, considering the current scenario, many doctors are either spacing out regular prenatal visits and even encouraging teleconsultation. If, however, you do need to visit the hospital, ensure you follow all the recommended hygiene and sanitisation guidelines to protect yourself and your baby.
5. Is it safe to deliver your baby in a hospital?
It has been observed that many hospitals have made arrangements and have changed the way they function to protect their patients, especially pregnant women. What you can do, though, is minimise the number of people that you and your child come in contact with after the delivery. Restrict the number of people around your baby; and only allow family members to touch or hold your child, as this can minimise the risk of exposure. And ensure that they wash and sanitise their hands before coming in contact with the baby. If you are still doubtful, consult your doctor about it.
6. Can coronavirus be passed on to your baby?
It is important to remember that this situation is unprecedented, and there has not been enough data to prove whether COVID-19 can be passed on from a pregnant woman to her child.
However, tests do reveal that the virus has not been found in the amniotic fluid or breast milk. Yet, the possibility of it happening cannot be ruled out either. Having said that, if you have been infected by the virus and have just given birth, it is advisable to reduce any physical contact with your baby until you stop showing symptoms or have been tested.
7. Will I be separated from my baby if I am infected?
This is a tough question to answer, and the answer will undoubtedly be hard for new mothers. However, keeping everybody safe, particularly newborns, is paramount right now. So, you would have to be separated for your child temporarily.
A newborn child is susceptible to infections, and hence, it is advisable to keep him/ her away from anyone who is showing symptoms or has tested positive for the coronavirus.
8. Is it safe to breastfeed?
As mentioned above, until now, the coronavirus has not been found in breast milk. But if you have tested positive for COVID-19, it is advisable to express your breast milk and have someone else feed it to your baby. In such cases though, you must ensure proper cleaning and sanitisation of the breast pump and bottles. Additionally, if you are only showing symptoms, you can take precautions like washing your hands often and wearing a mask while feeding the child.
At Max Bupa, we go all out to ensure you are safe, always. Hence, have included maternity cover in most of our health insurance policies. You can avail it for your delivery and can freely contact us, should you have any queries regarding the same.