Pregnant and worried about coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know

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The risk of passing the infection to the foetus appears to be very low, and there is no evidence of any foetal malformations or effects due to maternal infection with COVID-19. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

By Dr Anubha Singh

Pregnant women have to take care of their baby's health as well. At a time when the problem arising from the coronavirus has taken a huge form around the world. As we all know, the virus spreads through respiratory droplets sent into the air when a person who has COVID-19 coughs or sneezes. It may also spread when someone touches a surface infected by a person who has the virus. People need to take special precautions rather than worry about it. Researchers are working quickly to learn more about the new coronavirus as well as its impact on our daily lives and of course on pregnant women too.

The current, hopeful assessments of the new coronavirus are based in large part on a study published online last month in The Lancet of nine pregnant women in their third trimester in Wuhan, China, who had pneumonia caused by COVID-19. None of the women developed severe illness, and all of their babies were born healthy. The risk of passing the infection to the foetus appears to be very low, and there is no evidence of any foetal malformations or effects due to maternal infection with COVID-19.

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This is even more important for women who are pregnant because they have full responsibility for the care of their unborn child. A small mistake on the part of pregnant women can have a bad effect on theirs as well as the baby's health. That is why you can protect yourself and your baby in the right way by taking more precautions than during normal days at this time.

The question is, what extra precautions should one take while pregnant? Let us discuss some precautions:

Avoid visiting crowded places

Very effective steps are being taken by the Government of India to avoid congestion and protect people. Pregnant women should avoid going to crowded places because the risk of spreading the infection in such places is very high. If, for some reason, you have to venture out, then use a mask that covers your face properly. Also, do not touch the mask other than the straps used to wear and remove and also make sure to keep a distance of at least one metre from any person.

Awareness is the key

Be very aware of the potential symptoms of coronavirus and regular flu symptoms so that pregnant women can call their health provider if they experience any, which includes fever, respiratory symptoms or possibly even diarrhoea. Additionally, if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should monitor your own temperature and be especially aware of any respiratory symptoms. Your doctor can advise best steps for care and testing.

Proper hand cleaning

You all know that it is very important to clean your hands. These days, when the corona virus is very much spread, cleaning of hands has become even more necessary. It is necessary to wash your hands thoroughly with soap several times a day for a few time intervals at least 20 seconds. If you are in a place where water is not available, then keep using the alcohol-based sanitiser to clean hands.

pregnancy and coronavirus, things to know about pregnancy and coronavirus, what expecting mothers must know about coronavirus, health, parenting, indian express, indian express news

It is much necessary for an expecting mother to have a good and nutritious diet. Your child also gets nutrients from what you eat. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Regular online checkups

Regular check-ups during pregnancy are very important for the health of your baby and you. To minimise any potential danger, it is necessary that you have your check up periodically. But during the corona crisis, except for important pregnancy checkups, try consulting your doctor online. Many offices are already working to consolidate in-person appointments (for example, if someone is coming in for an ultrasound, a routine prenatal check might be added to the same visit). So apart from social distancing try and cut your routine checksups to online consultations. But at the same time, it is important to inform your doctor immediately if any health problems arise.

Do not touch the mouth again and again

To avoid any virus, it is necessary that we prevent it from entering our body. Some people keep touching their mouth again and again. By doing this you provide a way for the virus to reach your body. It is important for pregnant women as well as everyone else to avoid touching their mouths repeatedly. If you have a habit of touching your mouth, eyes, nose and ears, change this immediately. It is even more important for pregnant women because it can be harmful to their health as well as to their baby.

Get enough sleep

It is important for pregnant women to keep the body and mind fully energetic. To ensure this, you need to get enough sleep. It has been proved in many researches that by getting enough sleep each day, our body's immunity increases amazingly. If immunity is good, you can easily avoid many health problems. Along with this, moments of rest are very important for the baby growing in your womb. So do not compromise and make sure you get enough sleep.

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Balanced diet

The immune system's efficacy dips during pregnancy, which places pregnant people at a higher risk for contracting many transmissible illnesses whether food borne or respiratory. So it is much necessary for an expecting mother to have a good and nutritious diet. Your child also gets nutrients from what you eat. A balanced diet should be your first priority to provide proper nutrition to your baby during pregnancy. Considering the risk of coronavirus, it has become even more important for you to have a balanced diet. The right diet and all kinds of vitamins increase your body's ability to fight against diseases. So without delay, get a diet chart from your specialist and eat a balanced diet according to the same chart.

(The writer is a gynaecologist and IVF expert from Shantah Fertility Centre, New Delhi)