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Pregnancy and COVID-19: What are the Risks?


Pregnancy and COVID-19: What are the Risks?

Pregnancy and COVID-19: What are the Risks?

If you are pregnant, have recently had a baby, or are breastfeeding, you may be concerned about the impact of Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid 19) on you and your baby. Here's what you need to know.

Risks during pregnancy

Pregnant women have a low risk of developing COVID-19 . But pregnancy increases the risk of severe symptoms and death if infected with Covid 19 . Pregnant women with Covid-19 appear to be more likely to develop respiratory complications that require intensive care compared to non-pregnant women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant women are also more likely to put on a respirator than non-pregnant women.

In addition, it seems that pregnant women of African or Latin American descent are more affected by Covid 19 infection than others. Pregnant women with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, may be at increased risk of developing severe disease caused by COVID-19 .

Some studies indicate that pregnant women with Covid-19 are more likely to have premature labor and cesarean delivery, and their babies are also more likely to be admitted to the neonatal unit.

Call your health care provider right away if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have had contact with someone infected with this virus. It is advisable to undergo a Covid 19 test if the examination supplies are available. Before going to your appointment, call your health care provider to inform them of your symptoms and the possibility that you may have been exposed to the virus.

If you are pregnant and develop Covid-19 , the treatment approach will focus on relieving symptoms, and may include rest and drinking plenty of fluids, as well as the use of medicines to reduce fever, relieve pain or reduce cough. If your illness is severe, you may need to stay in the hospital for treatment.

Impact on antenatal care

Community efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 may affect your ability to access routine antenatal care. Talk to your health care provider about what precautions will be taken to protect you during medical appointments or whether telemedicine is an appropriate option for you before childbirth. Ask if there are any items that might be useful to have in the home, such as a blood pressure monitor. To get the most out of any remote consultations, prepare a list of questions you want to ask in advance and make detailed notes during the consultation. Also, consider searching for online childbirth courses.

If you have certain high-risk conditions during pregnancy, virtual counseling may not be an option. Ask your doctor about the effect of these conditions on the health care you receive.

Recommendations regarding labor and delivery

If you are in good health as your due date approaches, some aspects of labor and delivery may work as usual. But be prepared to be flexible.

If the hospital sets an appointment for you to induce labor or to conduct a cesarean delivery, doctors may conduct investigations to detect Covid 19 for you and the accompanying person 24 to 48 hours before you arrive at the hospital. Doctors may check you again before entering the labor or delivery department. If you have symptoms or have been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 , doctors may change the date of induced labor or cesarean delivery.

To protect your health and that of your baby, some facilities may limit the number of people who are allowed in the room during labor and delivery. Visits after childbirth may be affected as well. In addition, doctors may decide to examine you and the person accompanying you every day during your stay in the hospital to check for any symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about any restrictions you need to follow. Your hospital stay may be shorter than usual.

If you have had a Covid-19 infection or have similar symptoms and are waiting for test results, it is recommended that during your stay in the hospital and after childbirth that you wear a cloth face covering and clean your hands when caring for the newborn. Placing your newborn's crib next to your bed while you are in the hospital is acceptable, but it is also advised to keep a reasonable distance between you and your baby whenever possible. When these steps are followed, the risk of a newborn infant being infected with the COVID-19 virus is low.

But if you have a severe case of COVID-19 , you may be temporarily separated from your newborn.

A guide for the postpartum stage

Continuous postnatal care is recommendedTalk to your health care provider about virtual counseling options after childbirth and ask if you need to attend the clinic.

During these stressful times, you may become increasingly anxious about your health and the health of your familyPay attention to your mental healthReach out to family and friends for support, and at the same time, take precautions to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 .

If you experience severe mood changes, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, and feelings of unhappiness soon after birth, you may have postpartum depressionContact your health care provider if you think you may be depressed, especially if symptoms do not go away on their own, impede your ability to care for your baby or complete daily tasks, or have thoughts urging you to harm yourself or your baby.

Breastfeeding considerations

Research indicates that it is unlikely that Covid 19 virus can be transmitted to children through breast milk. Of more concern is the possibility that an infected mother could pass the virus to the child through respiratory droplets while breastfeeding.

If you have COVID-19 or are undergoing tests to detect your infection even though no symptoms appear, take several steps to avoid transmitting the virus to your child. This includes washing your hands before touching your baby and, if possible, wearing a face mask while breastfeeding. If you are using a pump to extract breast milk, wash your hands before touching any pump or parts of a feeding bottle, and follow recommendations for properly cleaning the pump. Ask someone else to breastfeed the baby's extracted milk if possible.

Information for pregnant and breastfeeding women about COVID-19 vaccines

There are currently no data on the safety of Covid 19 vaccines for pregnant and breastfeeding women. But if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and you are also among the recommended groups to receive the Covid 19 vaccine , you can decide to get the vaccine. We recommend that you consult your health care provider about the risks and benefits.

Keep in mind that mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 do not alter your DNA or cause genetic changes.

What you can do

To reduce the risk of infection, close contact with anyone who is sick or has symptoms should be avoided, and spacing 6 feet (2 meters) from those outside the family. A fabric mask should be worn in public places and at work places. And contact with people should be reduced as much as possible. Alternatively, the valuable moments can be shared with friends and family via photos, videos or video calls. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

The most important thing is that you focus on taking care of yourself and your baby. We recommend contacting your healthcare provider to discuss any concerns. If there is a problem controlling stress or anxiety, we recommend talking to your health care provider or mental health counselor about coping strategies.