KOCHI: While it felt great to read about how India’s youngest coronavirus patient, a 23-day-old infant was discharged from Gandhi Hospital, Hyderabad a week ago, it also gets us thinking about the extra risk that expectant moms would face during this period. With all the hype about Mother’s Day around, we find out if pregnant women are in double trouble in the pandemic times? “The Covid test is same for everyone. We take oropharyngeal swab.
The effect of Covid on pregnancy is not different than regular patients. If diagnosed positive, they can be admitted in Covid hospital and treated. Pregnancy can be continued,” says Dr Manjula Anagani, Chief gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon at Medicover Hospitals, Hyderabad.“Women at several institutes are being asked to take the Covid-19 test approximately 15 day prior to their delivery. Some private hospitals are also accepting a recent report as testimony right before admission. This criteria varies as per the discretion of private hospitals or every state’s directive. The test is to be taken by pregnant women ready to give birth, even if they are asymptomatic,” says Dr. Vanshika Gupta Adukia, pregnancy, childbirth and lactation specialist.
What happens if one were to test positive for Covid-19 prior to delivery? She would still be in a position to do so at a healthcare facility. There is a possibility that the chosen medical institute she initially planned to give birth at, may not be her option if they do not have infrastructure and facilities to combat the Covid- 19 disease. In this situation, she would be directed to the nearest hospital that is equipped to handle a delivery of a Covid-19 positive patient.
The delivery would require all doctors to follow the treatment protocols and carry out procedures with PPE on. An infection specialist team would be on stand by, staff numbers would be kept down to a minimum and it would be ensured that there is no contact between mother and child.
Dr. Kavitha Naragoni, senior gynaecologist and obstetrician surgeon, says, “Several changes occur to a woman’s body during pregnancy, which include reduced lung function, increased cardiac output, increased oxygen consumption, and changes to the immune system. Due to these changes, pregnant women have had an increased risk of severe complications from the infection with viruses from the same family as Covid-19, and other viral respiratory infections. So it is important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.”Her tip: Reduce, postpone and or increase the interval between antenatal visits to prevent the risk of infection.