The world is facing a highly contagious viral pandemic at present identified as Corona virus Covid-19. I know I am not the first one to tell you this. It's everywhere, all media showing it. It is sad to note that people are ignoring the precautions even after all these pains taken by governments and health care sector and we know it will prove dangerous for its spread. Let's be responsible for our actions. Today we talk on how Corona virus might affect pregnancy and breastfeeding?
With Corona virus pandemic spreading worldwide, pregnant women have to be extra cautious as very little data is available on Covid-19 and its effect on pregnancy.
Though the limited data available is reassuring. There is no current evidence that pregnant women are at greater risk for the virus than the general public. Also they need to follow same basic precautions to prevent spread of virus as other people.
Centre for disease control, CDC , USA States "We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses."
As with other viruses, severe illness in pregnancy may cause pneumonia which may be life threatening for mother. Also high temperature in first trimester may cause fetal anomaly or in third trimester cause premature labour as with some other viral illnesses. Though no such cases noted with Covid -19 as of now except few pregnant patients having preterm labour but cause of infection was not established.
Do's to protect yourself from Covid -19
• Hand hygiene
Wash your hands with soap and water frequently or with sanitizer.
• Cover your cough
• No touching eyes, nose and face with hands frequently
Keep adequate distance from others when going out.
Avoid crowded places.
Avoid meeting sick people.
Stay at home as much as possible
Keep in touch with Doctor about your antenatal appointments.
Consult a physician if u had any contact with a positive case or suspected case with symptoms.
Consult a physician if you have any of these symptoms
• shortness of breath
Best to avoid all unnecessary travel
It is important to note that incubation period of Covid-19 is between 2 to 14 days that means after contact with infected person the disease may take 2 weeks to manifest. Also the person may be infectious even before symptoms begin. So you don't know who might be infected.
Don't s - Please avoid the following
Marriage functions, parties, religious gatherings should be very limited or they can wait. In pregnancy or after delivery you should stay away from any such gatherings at present.
Hanging out with friends - Limit exposure to people.
Dining out in restaurants - Avoid going to crowded places.
Hiding travel history or symptoms history from anyone. - Be a responsible citizen. Do not be a source of infection for others.
Effect on fetus and newborn
And so far, with the limited data available, no babies born to moms sick with the coronavirus are testing positive for the disease except one recent case in England as per latest news.
Breastfeeding and Covid-19
CDC states "Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. However, much is unknown about COVID-19. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers."
Temporary seperation of baby and isolation of both in Covid 19 confirmed cases in mother is advisable.
CDC also states - A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is a symptomatic suspected case under investigation should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast. If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well, feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.
Don't panic but it's wise to take precautions...