Motherhood is a beautiful experience but also equally daunting especially for those who are expecting for the first time or have existing complications. The added burden is to deal with a sneaky virus like COVID. Since the virus has not spared anyone, even expecting mothers can fall prey to the virus. Even though there is no evidence of a expecting mother passing on the virus to the infant in womb, COVID positive expecting mothers are expected to take extra care, and are required to be in constant touch with a gynaecologist.
Patients who are COVID positive with mild symptoms are being asked to home quarantine. They are prescribed vitamin supplements, steam inhalation & betadine gargles. Although rest is important, there should be some movement as well. They need to ambulate by walking inside their rooms. Blood clotting risk increases in COVID and pregnancy is also a thrombotic condition, hence ambulation is important. A pregnant mother needs to hydrate herself well, as the baby receives blood from the mother. Apart from the above-mentioned, diet has to be equally on-point, which would require tips from an expert. Immunity goes for a toss in COVID patients, hence the need is to follow a diet with immunity-boosting foods.
Immunity Boosting Diet Tips For Pregnant COVID Patients
Dr. Seema Sharma, Senior Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh talks about the diet essentials that a COVID positive expecting mother should take for better management of disease and a faster recovery:
Citrus fruits like Amla, Guava, Oranges, Grapes, Kiwi, Sweet Lime, Lemons are all loaded with the goodness of Vitamin-C. A daily intake is essential to meet needs. Supplements can be added on in case of infections.
Listed below are some foods that are rich in Vitamin C and are not limited to oranges:
The goodness of green, orange and yellow colored fruits and vegetables are well known since long. Make sure you include all colors in your daily diet to get the benefits. Fruits like Papaya, Mango, Musk melon, Watermelon, Pomegranate and vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, have rich amounts of Vitamin-A and are essential in keeping the body's defense mechanism going. These can be used in smoothies, soups, salads, bakes, sauted dishes and broths as nutritious options.
The role of good bacteria in maintaining one's health is widely known. Gut immunity protects our health to a very large extent. So top choices for improving gut health is a combination of prebiotic and probiotic foods. While fiber rich foods like oats, bananas, greens, whole grains and seeds provide the necessary prebiotic, foods like fermented rice, fermented rice water, fermented teas, curd, buttermilk, yogurt , kimchi, kombucha and kefir provide the necessary good gut bacteria. Many probiotic drinks and supplements too are widely available and can be safely included after consulting a nutritionist.
The benefits of the sunshine vitamin are widely studied in COVID. It is essential to get exposure to daily sunlight for about 20 minutes a day and add on oral supplements in case of severe deficiency. Most Indians have a lack of Vit-D so it would be wise to get the levels tested and treat accordingly. The immune modulating properties of this Vitamin are quite important.
Stick To Homemade Food, Proper Fluid Intake
The ideal approach is to stick to fresh homemade food. Things to keep in mind are the freshness of meals, protein rich meals, easy to digest foods and also a good amount of fluids alongside. One must ensure something is consumed every 2-3 ours to keep energy levels steady. It can be a meal followed by a soup or snack or a bowl of steamed vegetables. Smaller frequent meals and snacks work better than three large meal pattern. A fluid intake of 3-4 litres is essential to maintain hydration. Pregnant moms can follow the regular advice of easy to digest, home-safe meals and focus on protein intake too. Care must be taken to ensure all food groups are added in daily diet ensure good growth and development in baby.
Apart from food, medication also plays an important role (medicines for COVID positive expecting mothers). On this, Dr Sharma adds, "The current regimen being prescribed for COVID positive patients contain medications like Ivermectin & doxycycline. Both of these medicines must be avoided during pregnancy as they can be harmful to the fetus. Sometimes steroids are prescribed. It is best for the mother to consult her gynaecologist before taking this. Azithromycin, another drug that is given during COVID infection is relatively safe in pregnant women. Other than Vitamin D and Zinc supplements, a pregnant mother should always consult her gynecologist before attempting to take any medications."
With inputs from Dr. Seema Sharma, Senior Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh
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