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Not perfect time to have babies? Karnataka couples terminate pregnancies fearing COVID-19 infection

Sahana (name changed), who is 34 years old, terminated her pregnancy two weeks ago, when she was one month into it, as she feared catching Covid during this time.

Published: 31st August 2020 04:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2020 10:42 AM   |  A+A-

pregnancy

For representational purposes

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  Sahana (name changed), who is 34 years old, terminated her pregnancy two weeks ago, when she was one month into it, as she feared catching COVID during this time.

“As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I aborted the baby. Going to hospitals for check-ups now is risky. If this is the state of the pandemic now, I can’t imagine what it would be nine months later. There is a risk of the newborn being infected as well,” she said.

Apart from her family’s economic condition because of Covid, Zuha Junaidi also decided to stall her pregnancy in 2020 because of the risk to both her and the baby.

“Medical interventions, like clinical trials for the vaccine, are being done in a haste and it is a cause of concern. We will plan the pregnancy once we figure out the state of the pandemic, what the government is doing and a clearer idea of the processes in place to deal with Covid,” Zuha said.

“This is seen more among young couples in their mid-30s who want a second child but have chosen to defer it by a year. They opt for abortions, oral contraception and IUD (Intrauterine devices). For IUD and termination, they have to visit the hospital and the oral contraceptives can be picked up with the help of an online prescription,” said Dr Madhushree Vijayakumar, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital.

But expecting parents need not worry about access to medical care during Covid as there is tele-consultation and tele-counselling available.

Expecting mothers will have to visit the hospitals just three to four times for screening the baby, Dr Madhushree added. She has also seen cases where couples are opting to have babies during the pandemic as they have more time at home, because of work from home option.

Some of the couples may be at the end of their reproductive age, but are worried about the baby’s safety, said Dr Gayathri Kamath, Senior consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital.

“We are only a few months into the pandemic and there is not enough evidence to prove if coronavirus can affect the baby during the first trimester of the pregnancy. During the third trimester, the immunity of the mother is lesser.

When couples ask me if they should terminate their pregnancy, we tell them that there is no evidence that getting pregnant during the pandemic is dangerous or that the pregnancy must be terminated,” Dr Gayathri said.  

“We tell them to remain safe by following Covid norms, How long can they delay having a child, when we do not know how long the pandemic will last. It is better to have a planned pregnancy and take precautions to remain safe,” she said.


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