The Covid 19 pandemic doesn't seem to slow down as of now. What adds to the anxiety and panic is the unpredictability about the shape this pandemic will take and damage it will cause. The anxiety and worries are bound to increase when we have pregnant women and young children at home. We are getting hundreds of queries and doubts from pregnant women daily about the advices they need to follow in these difficult times. So this article on common advices to pregnant women and new moms in today's scenario. Routine pregnancy tests VS Social distancing
The most common question we hear now is are we supposed to go for routine check ups and scans? If not how do we know everything is well? Aren't all these tests very important for a pregnant women? This is the answer.
It's okay to postpone few check ups, sonography and blood tests if all well. Let you and your doctor decide according to situation in your area and individual case history.
The risk of contracting Covid 19 in pregnancy outweighs the benefit of any tests.
Its better to avoid any unnecessary visits to any clinics.
Watch for baby movements. - It is the most important criteria. A mother can know if there has been any change in baby movements.
Stay connected to your Gynecologist over phone.
Try to solve minor ailments over phone.
Make sure your doctor is available for emergency and delivery.
Avoid taking more family members during check ups and sonography.
In case of a high risk pregnancy like high blood pressure or diabetes etc follow your doctor's advice.
Try to take telemedicine advice or online consultation from doctors. Go for check up only if necessary.
Even breastfeeding and childbirth education classes are available online.
Report immediately if you have any emergency symptoms like bleeding, leaking or water break, spotting, decreased baby movements etc.
The limited data available on Covid 19 shows that pregnant women are not at higher risk of contracting the disease than general public. Also they need to follow same precautions. But again the data about its effect on pregnancy is very limited. So pregnant women need to be extra cautious.
After delivery 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.
No visitors at hospital and home.
Limit the number of family members in hospital.
Wear masks, personal hygiene measures and maintain physical distance with other patients, relatives and staff.
Wash hands before touching the baby.
Try to take care of baby by yourself. Avoid handing baby to staff for minor things like cleaning after potty.
Both mother and baby stay away from sick relatives.
Learn baby massage and you or close family member can do it.
Postnatal visits - except stitch removal and emergency all other visits can be postponed.
Baby vaccination - It is best for baby and mother to stay indoors. Connect over phone or telemedicine to your pediatrician. Routine vaccinations can be postponed.
Be positive. Focus on positive thoughts. Try to stay happy.
Follow your hobbies. Do small things that make you happy like listening to music, reading, cooking, art etc.
Try to keep yourself busy to drive away negative thoughts.
Eat hygienic fresh home cooked food in this situation.
Drink plenty of water and other fluids at least 3 to 4 litres in a day
Eat green leafy vegetables regularly .
Choose High protein and high fibre foods.
Take good amounts of fruits. All fruits can be eaten in pregnancy. Even Papaya and pineapple can be consumed in moderate quantities. Papaya is a good source of vitamin A.
You are required to take only 350 extra calories in pregnancy. So don't eat for two. Just eat healthy. Many woman lose 1-2 kg in first 3 months due to nausea and vomiting. Then there will be a steady weight gain upto a total of 11-12 kgs.
You can eat eggs and other well cooked non vegetarian foods as you please. They are high in proteins.
No foods or pills can make your baby fair, it's the genes.
Folic acid Start taking folic acid to prevent brain defects in baby. It is best to take folic acid few months before planning for pregnancy. If not started previously start as soon as urine pregnancy test is positive even if routine consultation is not possible now. Exercise Stay active. Continue exercise in pregnancy. Do some meditation. You can continue doing moderate exercise if you were doing previously. Don't start any new heavy exercise in pregnancy. Go slow and increase gradually. Stay indoors completely. Addictions Avoid smoking including passive smoking, alcohol, tobacco in any form completely. Limit caffeine intake. Travel Try to stay where you are. Even if you are in later months of pregnancy and had decided to go to your parents place, it may not be safe now. Also it might be difficult to find new doctor at new place for emergency situation. Work Work from home. It's best to limit all exposure and stay indoors. It's better for other family members to work from home when they have pregnant women, new mothers or very young kids in home to limit exposure. Sleep Have a good sleep at night. Avoid too much screen time after evening. You may rest for 1-2 hours in noon also. Medication Do not take any self medication. Ask your doctor before continuing any previously prescribed medications even if it is non allopathic. Sex Sex during pregnancy is safe unless instructed to be avoided by your doctor.
Heartburn or acidity is a common symptom in pregnancy. Avoid spicy food, eat small proportions frequently, sleep a little propped up to control it.
Stretch marks are common pregnancy. Some people have more some less. They lighten in due course after delivery.
Constipation also occurs commonly in pregnancy because of hormones. It is best to take some medication or it can cause painful fissures or piles.
Swelling of feet is common in pregnancy. You can keep pillows under your legs while sleeping. Take adequate rest. Your doctor will check your blood pressure at every visit. If it's normal swelling is because of pregnancy. Read about pregnancy, delivery, painless labour, newborn care when pregnant.
Don't panic but be careful. Disclaimer - these are the views of a qualified doctor and author. These are general suggestions and do not replace actual check up by a doctor. Any resemblance to anybody is coincidental. Author information - Dr Harita N Kothia, Obstetrician and gynecologist, Mumbai.