Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful and, at the same time, one of the most stressful things a woman and her family undergo. Even a mild cold or fever in a pregnant woman can create huge distress. It is because both the pregnant woman and their offspring are at a higher risk of catching a disease or even fatality in severe conditions.
For the same, pregnant women are given extra care for the healthy life of both the mother and child. Winter or rainy seasons or environmental effects have a huge impact on pregnant women. On a similar note, the recent outbreak of coronavirus has created a massive panic around the globe. At the same time, the general population is affected, but pregnant women and offspring are at a higher risk.
How is Coronavirus Impacting Pregnant Women?
There is no vital information on how recent coronavirus may impact pregnant women. Still, there are studies on earlier SARS and MERS that can provide some insights into how it may impact pregnant women.
According to studies, the previous outbreak of H1N1 influenza posed a severe threat to pregnant women (1) where certain cases were fatal. A similar survey of SARS, which involved 12 pregnant women, showed that 3 of them died, 4 of them had a miscarriage, and others had complications with their pregnancy. Whilst, a small investigation of 147 pregnant women (64 confirmed) only 8% were severely affected while 1% were in critical condition.
Besides, in these emergencies of new outbreaks like coronavirus, medications, or vaccines are developed for the average person in general, rather than focusing on specific groups like pregnant women or the older population. It is because of the lack of time or resources to study how the drug may react to the mother or their fetus.
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So, why are pregnant women more prone to fall prey to the disease?
A pregnant woman goes through a lot of changes in their body during the whole course of pregnancy and post-childbirth. Hormonal imbalance, increased heart rate, slow down of blood circulation or body fluids, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, body pains, fatigue, reduced lung capacity, and constipation are a few of many such changes.
Pregnant women also go through a lot of changes in the cardiorespiratory system that makes them more prone to viral respiratory infections. The immune system also becomes weak during pregnancy making both women and their offspring more susceptible to diseases and their fatal consequences.
Besides, during pregnancy, a woman requires a lot more energy to maintain the health of themselves and their child. These are a few of the many-body changes that a woman undergoes during pregnancy. Plus, extra measures to prevent any infections. When these pregnant women with these health changes are affected by a disease, it becomes even more difficult for them to ward them off.
Especially a viral infection during pregnancy poses a higher risk of mortality or morbidity in pregnant women and their fetus than those in the general crowd.
In such cases, the best way to protect pregnant women and their offspring is to optimize their health and immune system. Pregnant women should be given all the essential nutrients that can help in enriching the health of the mother and their offspring. Pregnant women are also given vaccine shots that strengthens them and their fetuses to fight minor cold & flu. Plus, there are antiviral medications that are developed specifically for pregnant women.
Can the virus spread from a mother to the fetus?
Currently, there are no studies that show that coronavirus or COVID-19 can be transmitted from mother to child. However, based on earlier studies of similar conditions, if a mother is affected by coronavirus the fetus may also be affected.
If a mother affected with coronavirus transmit the virus to the infant or newborn?
As of now, coronavirus is known to be transmitted person to person when they are in close contact through respiratory droplets. There is no clear information available on whether coronavirus can be transmitted through breast milk.
On the optimal side, it is wise to take measures of avoiding close contact between the baby and the mother. It is because, during breastfeeding, the mother holds the baby close to her, wherein the virus may be transmitted to the child while she breathes. Plus, since there is no strong evidence, whether breast milk of infected mothers may or may not have harmful pathogens(2).
[Read more: Corona Virus Prevention Measures]
What should pregnant women do?
However, taking necessary measures and being extra precautionary during epidemics like coronavirus is highly essential to prevent any complications in both the mother and their offspring. Below listed are few such measures:
- Maintain good hygiene
- Avoid touching or caressing pets or animals
- Cook your meals until they are well done
- Avoid unpasteurized or raw milk
- Consult your doctor and get all the necessary vaccines
- Take necessary nutrient supplements recommended by the doctor
- Avoid sharing foods or eating utensils with others
- Avoid contact with the saliva of your kids or other children
Coronavirus or COVID-19 has created colossal panic around the globe. Plus, it is of more significant concern when it comes to pregnant women, as both the mother and their offspring are at the risk of health complications. Hence, it is advised to take the necessary measures mentioned in the article and always keep in contact with your doctor to keep a check on your symptoms.
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