Pregnancy Myths Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How does the infection spread?
A. It initially emerged from animal sources. Then it was transmitted to humans. But due to close contact, touching eyes, nose, face, and through sneezing it started spreading from human to human.
Q. Does it spread through sexual contact?
A. Currently, we don’t have enough data to support that it spread through Sexual contact.
Q. How does the pregnant female present with the infection?
A. Most of the infection is mild flu-like. They can have- cold, cough, sore throat, body temperature below 37.8 degrees Celsius. Few can present with serious symptoms like- shortness of breath, pneumonia, very high fever, loose motion, and pain in the abdomen. very few pregnant females with other comorbidities can have fast breathing, low body oxygen level, altered sensorium.
Q. How does it affect a pregnant female?
A. As previously known most infections worsen during pregnancy due to physiological immunosuppression, but there is no evidence showing any increase in susceptibility to COVID 19 infection in pregnant females with no other comorbidity. The complication rate is also the same as in the general public.
Q. Which category of pregnant females is at more risk of complication?
A. Pregnant females with the following complications are at increased risk of COVID-19 related problems-
- Elderly pregnancy
- pregnancy with high BP
- heart diseases
- long-standing liver, kidney or lung disorder
- blood cancer
- patients on medication to lower immunity.
Q. How does this infection affect the baby?
A. There are not enough studies or cases of pregnancy with covid-19 infection to set a guideline. But it is believed that there is no increase in chances of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss, infection to the baby, malformation in baby and there is no decrease in growth of the baby or premature delivery. Though there have been a few preterm deliveries but mostly they were due to obstetric causes.
It is not yet proven that the infection may spread from mother to baby before delivery.
Q. What can be done to decrease the chances of infection during pregnancy?
A. All pregnant females should follow a few things like following:
- Take a high protein diet like paneer, soya bean, chicken, egg, and mutton.
- Take multivitamin
- Maintain good hygiene by frequent hand washing, wash hands frequently at least for 40 seconds to 1 minute with any soap
- If going out then carry a hand sanitizer
- avoid touching face
- Wear a mask when going out of the house
- maintain social distancing. reduce or postpone Hospital visits The minimum number of hospital visits should be at 12 weeks, 20 weeks, 28 weeks, and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Frequent visit to the hospital can put the pregnant females at more risk of exposure to the covid-19 virus. In case of any comorbidity consult your doctor regarding visit the hospital.
- Follow cough etiquette- cough or sneeze into the bent elbow or on a tissue
- avoid non-essential contact with other family members
- family members should also avoid going out and bring infection
- stay at home and avoid nonessential travel
Q. How to ask the doctor about doubts during pregnancy?
A. It is always better to consult your doctor online through video conferencing or teleconferencing.
Q. What should be done during home monitoring or what can be done by the patient at home to know if everything is going smoothly?
A. All pregnant females should monitor their blood pressure, weight, and baby’s movements at home. How frequently it should be monitored depends upon the duration of pregnancy and the opinion of your doctor.
Q. What should be done if you suspect yourself to be infected with covid-19 infection during pregnancy?
A. If you suspect yourself to be infected, inform your health care provider telephonically. Spend time in isolation at home if you have mild symptoms for 14 days. If the symptoms still persist or worsen consult your doctor immediately.
Q. How should a person suspected of covid-19 contact the hospital?
A. If one is suspected or a confirmed case with covid-19 infection then one should not attend the routine antenatal OPD. Instead should attend specially designed screening area. This way infection to other pregnant patients can be avoided. A minimum possible number of family members should accompany the pregnant female to the hospital. One should use private transport preferably. If an ambulance is required one should inform the ambulance people or the hospital beforehand of the covid-19 positive or suspected status.
Q. Should one go for normal delivery or C section in case of covid-19 positive status?
A. There is no evidence that c-section decreases the chances of the spread of the infection to the baby. C-section is only done in patients who are critically ill and need urgent delivery otherwise the natural process of birth is preferred. The use of birthing pools should be avoided.
Q. Should a birth companion be allowed during delivery?
A. A birth companion should be avoided as much as possible. If still needed then he should be screened for covid-19 status and once in the delivery room should not be allowed to go out and come in frequently. Instead video conferencing should be preferred.
- Myths about breastfeeding the baby if the mother is covid-19 positive.
- Mother with covid-19 infection can breastfeed the baby with proper precautions.
The above article has been contributed by Dr. Jasmine Kang, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician and Laparoscopic surgeon. Family Clinic Barwala Road,Derabassi, Mohali (Punjab).