As per UNICEF, Under the shadow of Covid-19, approximately 116 Million babies are expected to be born by the end of December 2020. (Projections are calculated by counting 40 weeks after Covid-19 was declared as pandemic on March 11 by WHO)
With increased measures of containment world wide, health care centers are experiencing new challenges like shortage of equipment and facilities, lack of skilled health care workers to attend labour, having midwives redeployed to attend covid-19 patients. These containment measures are disrupting the life saving health care services such as child birth putting the life of mother and baby at risk. Hence Expectant mothers, New mothers and Newborn are being greeted with these harsh realities.
Why Pregnant Women are Vulnerable to Covid-19?
Compared with non-pregnant women, Pregnant women are more prone to develop both bacterial and viral infections with some organisms. Several mechanical and pathophysiological changes like urinary stasis and decrease in respiratory volumes occur during pregnancy. Immune adaptions are required, to accommodate the requirements of the foetus exposing Pregnant mother to various infections. Covid-19 is one of such infections that pregnant mothers are susceptible to.
Precautions to be taken by Pregnant Mother:
No vertical Transmission of Corona Virus from Pregnant mother to the Foetus:
Though Pregnant mother is infected with virus, it doesn’t infect the foetus. After studying 108 pregnant women, who are being infected with Covid-19 virus, there is no evidence found as to virus crossing placenta and infecting foetus. So don’t panic. Your baby is safe inside the womb.
Staying with baby after Delivery:
Provided that the baby is well and doesn’t require any neonatal care, Mother can stay with the baby
Breastfeeding when Infected:
There is no evidence as to the presence of virus in the breast milk. The risk of virus transmission to the new born arises because of close contact between infected mother and the newborn while feeding. So taking precautions like washing hands, wearing a mask reduce the chances of infecting the newborn.
Does the virus cause Miscarriage?
There is no evidence till date to comment on increased risk of miscarriages if infected with virus.
To conclude, observing the studies conducted so far, there is no evidence on vertical transmission of virus from Pregnant mother to foetus or during the process of delivery. Further there is no evidence of presence of virus in the breast milk also. Though, current evidence is ruling out the presumptions of transmitting virus from mother to foetus, further extensive research is needed to completely overrule the transmission from Mother to foetus. Hence, all the pregnant women must take all the necessary precautions, as they are more susceptible to catch infections during Pregnancy.