Seek medical help on time, deferring or avoiding routine prenatal care visits during these times will only increase the risk in women and fetal health
“I am tired of having home-cooked food, and I am craving for pizza, burger, etc. Can I order food?” It is one of the most common questions asked by the pregnant woman. Dr Prabha Ramakrishna, Senior Consultant & Head - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, SAKRA World Hospital and Dr Chitra S, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, SAKRA World Hospital clear doubts about pregnancy and childbirth issues during the pandemic and lockdown. Childbirth is a beautiful experience, yet it can be overwhelming for a pregnant mother. Pregnancy during a crisis like COVID-19 and an enforced lockdown period can result in lots of anxiety, stress and other problems, both for new parents and their family members. Lack of readily available medical support system, restricted movement and visit to the doctors due to lockdown can fuel up the high levels of emotional turmoil.
CORONAVIRUS AND PREGNANCY
Numerous news relating to the severity of the virus, numbers of cases increasing day by day and death due to infection being circulated all over various social media have certainly created panic amongst pregnant women. Most of them worry about what might happen if they are exposed to the virus or get infected. Pregnancy is an extremely vulnerable period for women during which they are prone to suffer miscarriages, and it is advisable to be careful and maintain a robust immune system. They must watch out for symptoms and not wait for them to decrease or feel better. Hence, taking care of health, following the norms of social distancing and self-quarantine (if expecting mild symptoms) is vital.
According to ICMR guidelines, a pregnant woman is advised to attend routine antenatal care, tailored to a minimum, at the discretion of the maternal care provider at 12, 20, 28 and 36 weeks of gestation and regular intervals as advised for high-risk pregnancy cases, unless they meet current self-isolation criteria. Simplifying ICMR guidelines, Dr Prabha Ramakrishna said, “A pregnant woman needs mandatory visits to the hospital during first-trimester screening and check-ups which are done at the 12th week of pregnancy. The anomaly scan, done around the fifth month of pregnancy. And check-ups are done in the seventh month and during week 36 (ninth month) as she gets closer to her due date.”
EXPERTS ON SAFE PREGNANCY
- Dr Prabha added, “healthcare should be agile enough to ensure women to have safe childbirth even under the pressures of COVID-19. Most blood tests needed during pregnancy can be done through sample collection from home. The reports can be shared with doctors via email or during a video consultation.”
- Commenting on the health complications during pregnancy and the importance of practising health hygiene, Dr Chitra S said, “Taking up precautionary measures to avoid getting infected and practising health hygiene such as wearing the mask, washing hands frequently, disinfecting the house, etc. is of utmost importance. We have noticed that many pregnant women are complaining of backache or are developing urinary tract infections during this lockdown period. All these minor complications, such as swelling of legs, mild headache and flu symptoms, are caused due to restricted movement and being less active. Stay hydrated, drink 2-3litres of water every day. Some health issues can be sorted through online consultation. If you need to visit a health centre, take your vehicle and avoid public transport.”
Pregnancy is a critical time, especially the first trimester. Tackling coronavirus during pregnancy certainly needs extra caution. The article highlighted how a pregnant woman could maintain personal health and the importance of following the instructions and advisories for safe delivery. It is advisable to take nutritional meals, perform mild exercises, stay hydrated, have a night of adequate sleep, stay healthy, avoid social gatherings and travel to prevent further pregnancy complications and COVID-19 infections.
Conclusion: This is ow an individual can help to avoid the spread of infections and have safe childbirth just by following the norms of social distancing and other guidelines issued by the Govt of India.
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