Covid-19

Maternal And Newborn Care During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Pregnancy is usually a time of joy, but now it has become increased anxiety as well as increased risk of wellbeing disturbances, both during pregnancy and after birth because of the consequences of COVID-19. 

You’ve waited nine months for your newborn to arrive, now that your baby has arrived. You may be worried about the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on your as well as your baby’s health.

How do you keep him/her healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic? Read on further to know more about this.

Are Pregnant Women At Higher Risk From COVID-19?

According to the report of ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research), there is no evidence of scientific literature to suggest that pregnant women are at higher risk of developing a serious illness as compared to the general population.

Maternal And Newborn Care During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Although pregnancy itself alters the body’s immune system. Pregnant women can be affected by certain respiratory infections, including COVID-19.

So it is important that pregnant women take precautions to protect themselves and to seek their doctor if they develop any symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty in breathing.

Precautions For Pregnant Women To Avoid COVID-19 Infection

If you are pregnant, take these precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as other people.

  • Make sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Wear a face mask and follow social distancing while going outdoors and avoid crowded areas.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Make sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when you sneeze or cough. And try to dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Clean and then disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.

Can COVID-19 Be Transmitted From Mother To Baby?

According to the emerging evidence and reports suggests that the passage of COVID-19 from mother to baby is probable. And there are no recorded cases of breast milk or secretions from the vagina that have been tested positive for COVID-19.

And the report of ICMR, Guidance document, dated 12 April 2020, there is no scientific evidence suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to COVID-19.

Tips To Protect A Newborn Baby In The Time Of Covid-19

  • Discourage visitors once your baby is born.
  • Ensure that all those who are caring for the baby (you and your family) frequently wash hands and wear face masks.
  • Wear a medical mask when you are in any contact with the baby, even while feeding.
  • Mothers should follow other measures of preventing infections, such as washing hands, sneezing or coughing in a tissue, wiping down surfaces, etc.

Read more about How Does COVID-19 Affect Women’s Sexual And Reproductive Health?

Is The COVID-19 Vaccine Safe During Pregnancy Or Breastfeeding?

All available COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective in people who are not pregnant, but the clinical trials are only just now getting underway to address their safety and efficacy during pregnancy. 

As of now, there is currently no firm safety data available to know for sure whether these vaccines are safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

And the leading experts from the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) reported that mRNA vaccines like the ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna do not contain any live virus, and therefore are not thought to pose a risk to unborn babies or nursing infants.

Symptoms Of COVID-19 In Babies And Children

Although some babies don’t show any symptoms. Danelle Fisher, M.D., a pediatrician and vice-chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California says “We have seen babies who have COVID-19, and we just happen to find out because we tested them after a family member tested positive,”

The symptoms seem to be similar for both babies and adults. However, babies tend to have more mild symptoms. They can include:

  • Fever.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea.

What To Know About COVID-19 If You’re Pregnant?

If you’re pregnant, it’s understandable that you feel worried about the COVID-19. According to the study of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are seven different types of coronavirus known to infect humans.

Some are mild and cause colds, but some forms of the virus can cause severe illness. But the coronavirus that’s circulating right now is 2019-nCoV.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “Based on what we know at this time, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people.

Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth.”

The research is still continuing to learn more about how this virus impacts pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the best way pregnant people can protect themselves from the coronavirus is to practice social distancing, stay home as much as possible and follow the CDC’s recommendation to wear a face mask in public.

Pregnant During COVID-19? Here’s What You Can Expect

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had previously reported that infants born to mothers with confirmed COVID-19 be temporarily separated to lower the risk that the baby would be infected.

And in the month of November, they released updated guidance that allowed for room sharing during the birth hospitalization.

The AAP now recommends the following if a new mother has confirmed COVID-19:

  • The mother and the newborn may share a room.
  • The mother must try to keep a reasonable distance from the newborn during hospitalization.
  • The mother should wear a mask and clean her hands often when caring for the newborn.
  • An isolette (clear plastic crib) may be used for added protection from the mother’s respiratory droplets.
  • Non-infected family members at the hospital should wear a mask and clean their hands often.

Be prepared, not scared. Simple steps like washing your hands and avoiding crowds can go a long way in protecting you and your baby.

Many hospitals have more precautions and systems to ensure safe deliveries to reduce the risk of infection to newborns. Stay healthy and stay protected.

Read more about How Important Is Social Distancing To Help Prevent COVID-19?

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