Qs.1. Does Covid 19 affects pregnant women differently?
Ans.1. It has now been accepted that people with certain conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and lung diseases have a higher risk of becoming sicker with Covid 19 infection. But, at present, there is no evidence to indicate that pregnant women without these underlying conditions are more likely to suffer more serious Covid 19 infection, or be hospitalised or need ICU care.
Qs.2. Should pregnant women take extra precautions against Covid 19 infection ?
Ans.2. There is nothing in pregnancy itself that makes a women more susceptible to being infected with Covid 19 infection. They should follow the same guidance as the general public, like proper and frequent handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday to you…., twice), not touching face, nose and eyes and follow social distancing of staying more than six feet away from others. Since the transmission of SARS CoV2 virus spreads from person to person primarily through close contact with respiratory droplets. Wearing mask made out of ordinary cloth would also help, both the wearer and the other persons. There is no need for a pregnant lady to wear the three ply surgical or N95 respirator mask.
Qs.3. Are there risks of transmitting the virus from the mom to infants ?
Ans.3. So far there has been no report of Covid 19 being transmitted to an unborn baby. After birth, transmission is possible if there is exposure to a Covid 19 positive caregiver, including the mother. Newborn babies are less likely to show symptoms of infection or get serious forms of it.
Qs.4. Can a baby be infected from breast milk ?
Ans.4. There is no report of SARS CoV 2 being found in breast milk. It maybe prudent that a Covid 19 positive mother, could consider pumping milk during a few weeks after birth to protect their newborn from the risk of contracting the virus during breast feeding.
Qs.5. Are symptoms different in pregnant women ?
Ans.5. A study in New York reported that a large number of pregnant women were asymptomatic.
Qs.6. Should families change their labour and delivery plans ?
Ans.6. Hospital is the safest place to give birth as this environment ensures access to necessary care in cases of unanticipated complications, which can happen even in the healthiest of pregnancies.
Qs.7. How are pregnant women being screened for Covid 19 infection ?
Ans.7. It has been recommended that all pregnant women should be screened for the presence of the virus when they arrive for delivery or one day before admission. This is to both inform what kind of personal protection equipment would be needed by the providers of medical needs as well as by those caring for moms and babies. Ideally both RT PCR and serology test (not approved by ICMR at present) should be carried out.
Qs.8. What should you do, if you are pregnant and think you have Covid 19 ?
Ans.8. The incubation period of Covid 19 infection varies between a few days to 14 days with an average of four days. The classical symptoms of infection are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Recently CDC, Atlanta has recognised additional symptoms of Covid 19 infection: chills, muscle pain, recent change in taste or smell being prominent in some.
Qs.9. What should you do, if you are pregnant and diagnosed with Covid 19 ?
Ans.9. Diagnosis of Covid 19 is confirmed by performing RT PCR test on respiratory secretions collected by a swab and transported in cold condition to the laboratory in VTM (Viral Transport Medium).
Qs.10. Should pregnant women be changing what they eat or drink ?
Ans.10. There is likely a very low risk of spread from food products or packing that are shipped at refrigerated or frozen temperatures. There is no evidence that any specific foods or drinks help prevent being infected with the virus.