Pregnancy during COVID-19 can turn out to be a different experience compared to normal times. There are many health risks involved and women must adhere to certain precautions in order to eschew complications. And, ICMR has listed some guidelines for pregnancy during the pandemic.
According to experts, the risk of death due to the virus is 70 per cent higher in pregnant women. As per a study published by the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, there was a 7.2 per cent rise in high-risk pregnancies and a two-fold rise in ICU admissions of pregnant women from April 2020. “Pregnancy during COVID can cause pre-mature deliveries, stillbirths and higher chances of abortion. Also, pregnant women are at a higher risk of experiencing lung collapse and severe alveolar damage”, explains Dr Sunita Sahani, Senior Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Neera Nursing Home, Lucknow. There has been a spike in miscarriages, the birth of underweight babies and malformations caused chiefly by the dearth of nutrients in the maternal body and low oxygen levels.
Pregnant During The Pandemic
Dr Garima Gupta, Chief Paediatrician at Jagrani Hospital explains, “Pregnant women should be extra careful as their chances of getting infected are very high. Washing hands regularly, maintaining proper distance even with family members, wearing masks and staying mostly indoors as much as possible are the only ways to avoid coronavirus.” According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is uncommon in newborns born to mothers infected during the course of pregnancy. Additionally, pregnant women testing positive, should immediately isolate themselves and follow every precaution including work from home for working mothers.
“Pandemic might not be the best time to get pregnant but I won’t suggest anything regarding this because it’s a personal decision. Those women thinking of getting pregnant should also rethink the fact that admission in government and private hospitals for delivery becomes extremely tough due to a shortage of beds. Also, the baby can get exposed to the virus immediately after delivery”, concludes Dr Gupta.
The speculations oscillate between ‘avoiding corona during pregnancy’ or ‘avoiding pregnancy during corona’, and the answer to it is simple: The one which matches your domestic conditions and personal decisions. Recently, Karnataka has seen an increase in the death of pregnant women. “The biggest challenge that India faces is providing holistic medicines and healthcare to pregnant women as pregnancy during a pandemic is not just about delivering a baby”, adds Dr Sahani.
According to research done by the CDC by analysing about four lakh women aged between 15-44 years of age it has been found that pregnant women are more likely to require ICU, ventilator and ECMO support.