What is Covid -19? How does it spread?

Coronavirus Disease 2019  or Covid-19 is an infection caused by SARS- CoV- (Novel Coronavirus).  It may present with symptoms similar to flu-like running nose, sore throat, fever, dry cough; or severe symptoms like breathing difficulty. Sometimes patients may present with unusual symptoms like loss of sense of smell or foot rashes. Usually, symptoms start 5-7 days after exposure to an infected person, occasionally after 10-12 days, and very rarely after 28 days of exposure.

How can it affect my pregnancy?

The chances of getting infected in pregnancy are similar to non- pregnant state. In fact, as per the current experience, pregnant women seem to have a less severe infection. Mother to child transmission is not seen as per the current experience. No special tests are required to check for infection in the fetus. Also COVID- 19 does not seem to increase the chances of miscarriage or preterm delivery.

What about my routine tests/ scans and checkups?

A low-risk pregnancy with no other associated risks can be monitored with minimal possible antenatal visits. Usually, a visit will be advised at around 11-14 weeks with the NT scan and double marker test, another visit in the second trimester with an anomaly scan. Finally, 1 or 2 visits may be planned in the third trimester, along with a growth scan and required blood tests. Vaccination and blood tests can be given at the time of visits. High risks pregnancy would be monitored by your doctor depending on the clinical scenario. 

Will I need to be tested for COVID-19?

Your health care provider/ doctor may ask for a Covid-19 test if you have suggestive symptoms, travel history to an affected place or history of exposure to an infected person. A swab will be taken from your nose or throat for testing. Additional tests like an X-ray or CT scan may be asked depending on your condition.

Will it affect my delivery?

Covid-19 generally does not affect the mode of delivery. A vaginal delivery can be conducted with adequate precautions by the medical team, as a mother to child transmission of Covid-19 is not seen.  A patient with severely compromised respiratory status may require emergent delivery by cesarean.

What to do during an emergency?

You can contact the emergency number of your doctor/ hospital and inform them about your condition and follow their advice. If you need to travel to the hospital you can call for an ambulance. You can also travel by private car if you have help. Avoid public transport. If public transport is unavoidable ensure that you wear a mask, maintain social distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory hygiene. If you are suspected/ Infected with Covid-19 please inform your health care providers beforehand, so that they can be ready to take care of you after donning personal protective equipment. 

Can I breastfeed? 

Yes, you can breastfeed your baby, even if you are suspected/ infected case of Covid-19, as per the advice of your obstetrician and neonatologist. But you need to take proper precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining adequate respiratory and hand hygiene.

Does the baby have to be tested?

Your baby may require testing if you are a suspected/ infected case of Covid-19, as per the guidance of your neonatologist, or if your baby has suggestive symptoms.

How can I maintain respiratorily and hand hygiene?

Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose whenever you come in contact with other people. Sanitize/ wash your hands before wearing the mask. And don't keep touching your mask.  Cover your nose and mouth with handkerchief /tissue while coughing or sneezing. If you cannot cover your mouth and nose with your hand, sneeze/ cough into your elbow. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, at regular intervals. If you don't have access to soap and water use a sanitizer. Maintain social distancing. 

What care should I take after going home. What precautions do I need to take?

Ensure good hygiene. It will protect you and your baby from diseases. Eat nutritious food.  Avoid too many visitors or functions at your home. You can conduct rituals with only your family members and use social media to involve friends and relatives. Maintain the least possible contact with people who move in and out of the house on a regular basis. Wear a mask on all such occasions and maintain social distancing. Ensure that all members of the family wear masks, maintain respiratorily and hand hygiene when they come in contact with you.