Pregnancy & Covid – Risks, Safety Measures, Precautions

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Pregnancy and motherhood are the two most beautiful events of a woman’s life. But the current corona times are stopping them enjoy and feel happy about their pregnancy. The altering feelings of anxiety and uncertainty keep lingering in the minds of pregnant women, and they keep on thinking about one thing only – “Will I be able to deliver my child safely?” 

Many studies have been conducted about Covid and pregnancy. They claim that no strong evidence is available to show that pregnant women are at a high risk of getting ill from coronavirus than normal people. The risk may be moderate or mild. 

If you are an expecting mother, we urge you to follow all the guidelines and stay alert and safe while bearing a child during the Covid times. All the women in their third trimester must be attentive to the precautions about Covid and pregnancy. 

According to the World Health Organisation, pregnant ladies do not have a higher risk of getting the SARS-CoV-2 (a virus that is responsible for COVID-19).

However, the risk of pregnant ladies suffering from covid-19 is higher as compared to the non-pregnant ladies of the same age.

On the other hand, if the pregnant lady is overweight or older and suffering from any prior medical history and conditions like hypertension or diabetes, then the risk of covid 19 symptoms might further amplify.

So it may become crucial for pregnant ladies to take extra precautions in protecting themselves and their babies from COVID-19.

In case you become unwell and suffer from fever or cold and cough then you should immediately consult your doctor

On the occurrence of any of the covid 19 symptoms, you should book a doctor’s appointment immediately.

The primary reason behind this is because any such diseases can further truncate your immune system and bolster your risks for covid-19.

Additionally, the World Health Organisation states that there are no data or researchers that can substantiate the fact if the virus may be passed from the pregnant mother to the fetus or the baby even during delivery.

This is because no active traces of COVID-19 have been found in the fluids near the baby or even in the breast milk. So, you may breastfeed your baby without any difficulties.

According to the studies conducted in the UK, approximately 2/3rds of the pregnant ladies did not face any symptoms related to covid-19.

However, even if the ladies faced symptoms, they were quite mild and flu-like. On the other hand, the same study showed that there could be chances for a small population of pregnant ladies to become quite unwell due to COVID-19.

Moreover, the risk of these ladies may further get heightened during the third semester. So to evade any risk, the pregnant ladies are included in the clinically vulnerable list.

All these above-stated aspects give even more reasons to you that you should definitely take the vaccine if you are pregnant.

Also, here are other guidelines.

Other Risks That You Must Know

As stated, the overall risk of infection in pregnant women is low. Here’s everything to know about the risks associated with pregnancy during Covid: 

  • Expecting mothers who are overweight, older, or have a pre-existing medical condition like diabetes and hypertension are at an increased risk of Covid-19 infection.

    Therefore, it is essential for all pregnant women and people around them to take enough precautions to protect themselves against this deadly infection.

    At the same time, you should make a habit of consuming some of these best fruits for pregnancy as the regular consumption of these may be able to support your immunity as well.

  • Some pregnant women may experience severe illness. In such a situation, it is advised to get hospitalized and have intensive care. The doctor may as well suggest they be placed on a ventilator to control heavy breathing.

  • Pregnant women infected with the virus are on a higher side to deliver a premature baby. In such cases, the delivery happens before the start of the 37the week. Some women may as well be at a higher risk of problems like pregnancy loss.

  • Some studies suggest that pregnant women with a Covid infection may have a cesarean delivery. The babies out of such delivery are likely to be admitted to the neonatal unit of the hospices.

  • If you experience any of the Covid symptoms or have been exposed to a person infected by the virus, get tested for the infection immediately. You can contact your healthcare provider and discuss everything about your symptoms.

  • Upon suffering from Covid-19, your treatment will aim at relieving all the symptoms. You may be given medication to reduce fever, lessen coughing, and relieve pain. If nothing works, you may be admitted for treatment in the hospital.

  • Here are other guidelines from Indian Government as well.

What Are The Precautions Against Coronavirus During Pregnancy?

Since there are not enough studies and researches that can substantiate the risks of covid 19 during pregnancy, it is better to avoid the virus during this phase at all.

You might want to consider several steps and practice them to minimize your chances of suffering from the COVID-19 during pregnancy.

First of all, you must wash your hands frequently. You may hear this over and over again, but it could protect you from catching the virus.

Secondly, the pregnant ladies may maintain a distance of at least six feet from others in public places and avoid contact as much as possible.

If you are suffering from cough or sneeze then you should use a tissue and dispose of it in the dustbin when used.

However, in case you develop any serious respiratory symptoms or severe coughing, then you may always consult your doctor. If your doctor recommends, then you may even get tested for COVID-19.

Sometimes you could even get your flu vaccination to evade covid 19. Though the flu vaccine may not be able to protect you from COVID-19, it might help you to evade influenza and thus protect your immunity.

In the end, one of the most efficacious precautions that you may take is to go virtual. You might even arrange your prenatal visits virtually with your gynecologist.

The primary reason behind this is because once you evade all such things, you won’t have to go to the hospitals or even spend time in the doctor’s waiting room.

However, sometimes it may become essential for you to visit the doctor in case of blood tests, ultrasound, and fetal testing.

In these circumstances, make sure to cover your face and maintain as much distance as possible from others.
In case you find anyone suffering from high fever or regular coughing, then it could indicate a covid-19 infection.

Hence, make sure to evade coming in direct contact with such persons. Additionally, you could also opt for work from home rather than in-office jobs.

Impact Of Covid On A Pregnant Woman

The harmful cloud of coronavirus has shadowed the entire planet. Additionally, this virus may even have a drastic impact on the health of pregnant ladies.

However, according to the ICMR and NIRRH, COVID-19 cases in pregnant ladies are quite mild with a good recovery.

Moreover, the risk for pregnant ladies to contract the virus is similar to the general population. The exception is that during pregnancy the immune system of the ladies might weaken.

Hence this could result in more severe symptoms and a heightened sensitivity to viral infections and covid in general.

The risk of the pregnant lady might even amplify during the last trimester of pregnancy in cases of other types of coronavirus infection, like SARS and MERS. Another impact of covid 19 could be before-time labor signs and even result in preterm birth in some pregnant ladies.

On the other hand, pregnant women who have heart disease may even be at a higher risk for covid-19. Besides providing physical effects, the virus could augment the risk of the ladies depression, perinatal anxiety as well as domestic violence.

Due to this, it becomes crucial for the family members to take care of the pregnant lady during this phase. To reduce the chances of Postpartum depression, you can always ask the women about their mental health.

According to the mayo clinic, some research suggests that the pregnant ladies during COVID-19 might have a cesarean delivery.

Additionally, the babies born may even be admitted to the neonatal unit. However, there is no verified data to substantiate the heightened risks of early pregnancy or miscarriage due to the COVID-19. Hence, covid-19 may not be an indication of medical termination of pregnancy.

Child Delivery At The Time Of Covid

Yes, it is very much safe to deliver your baby to the hospital. Many hospitals and birth centers take extra precautions to ensure that both mothers and babies remain protected from the infection. These hospitals keep all the patients suffering from Covid-19 away from others in the isolation wards. 

Apart from this, hospitals also limit the number of people to be allowed in the delivery room. No visitor is allowed to see the baby after the delivery. Everyone who wants to come near the mother or the baby is checked for the symptoms of the infection.

Be sure that you follow all the precautions after delivery.

Basic Questions And Answers On Pregnancy And Covid

Yes, pregnant women seem to be at a higher risk of getting an infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Here is a study from CDC.

The primary mode of transmission of the Covid-19 infection is from person to person via respiratory droplets. Some statements have suggested that the infection may be airborne as well. 

The symptoms of Covid-19 infection in pregnant women may be mild such as cough or light fever. Sometimes, the situation may become worse, and the symptoms such as severe breathlessness may show up.

The symptoms of Covid-19 for pregnant women are the same as for any other person. You may suffer from cold and flu. It is best-advised to get tested and find out if this is normal cold and flu or Covid. Other symptoms that you must be careful about including sore throat, runny nose, congestion, muscle pain, headache, chills, loss of smell and taste, constant tiredness, diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea.

Whether you are pregnant or delivered a baby, it is essential to take precautions to keep yourself and your baby safe from the infection. Here are the measures to take to manage your pregnancy and delivery during Covid:

  • Do not come in contact with any person suffering or showing the symptoms of the infection. Do not let the visitors enter inside your room. Always keep a distance while meeting others.
  • The family members, too, must take all the safety measures while living with the mother-to-be. Avoid making direct contact with the expecting mother.
  • Unless urgent, do not go out and stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Keep yourself updated about the signs and symptoms of the infection and upon experiencing any of the symptoms, get yourself tested at home.
  • If the infection is mild, treat it at home with fluids and medication. If the infection is severe, contact your doctor and get yourself admitted to the hospital.
  • To protect your little one, do not allow visitors near him. Keep your baby at home as much as possible.
  • Keep yourself and your baby at a distance of at least 6 feet away from others. Always wear a mask, but do not put anything on your little one’s face.
  • Do not expose your little one to an infected person.
  • Guide all the caregivers to wash their hands before touching your baby and keep all the surfaces clean.
  • Detailed article here.

Many studies have suggested that unborn or newborn babies do not catch Covid infection from their mothers. However, we still urge all the mothers to take precautions and prevent the possibility of catching the infection.

Here are some specific guidelines from CDC on being a breastfeeding mother who is covid 19 infected.

Final Words On Pregnancy & Covid

Being pregnant means preparing yourself in bringing a new life to this planet earth. With the current situation of the corona virus pandemic, everything step that you take becomes even more essential.

You would need to be really very careful in your day-to-day life. There are several guidelines in place and a number of precautionary steps that you should follow in order to save yourself from this deadly virus.

If you are careful enough, there are high chances that you might have a smooth pregnancy and a healthy delivery as well.

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