Coronavirus outbreak: Better to not plan pregnancies as it lowers immunity, say gynaecologists
While some said babies won't be at risk, others suggested couples should postpone their pregnancy plans as immunity of expecting mothers is usually low
The fear of complications pregnant women might face due to Coronavirus seems to be quite real with many expecting mothers and those planning pregnancies seeking medical advice in desperation. To clear the confusion, mid-day spoke to a number of city-based gynaecologists, most of who are specialist doctors at top hospitals.
While some said babies won't be at risk, others suggested couples should postpone their pregnancy plans as immunity of expecting mothers is usually low. However, many refused to speak saying that they needed more time to study the effect of Coronavirus on pregnant women.
Couple Prerna and Mihir Shukla, who were planning to have a baby this year, said, "A month back we had started our regular visits to the gynaecologist to start the medication required for conceiving but now we wish to postpone our plans in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. The situation is not safe."
"We have read up about the problems women suffering from Coronavirus might face during pregnancy. Though there is no risk for the baby, but low immunity of the mother can worsen the situation and make the virus stronger," added Prerna.
Meanwhile, city doctors recommended conceiving through the natural way rather than opting for Advance Reproductive Techniques (ART) at this time.
Dr. Ashok Anand, obstetrician and gynaecologist at JJ Hospital, said, "It is true that women are afraid to conceive at this time because the immune system already gets compromised during pregnancy. So, those who are undergoing infertility treatment must avoid getting pregnant now. The virus poses no danger if they conceive naturally but they shouldn't go for ART now." "Women must avoid Intra-Uterine Insemination and In-Vitro Fertilisation treatment for a while," he added.
Dr. Neepa Desai, Gynaecologist & DNB (OBGY), Sanghvi Hospital, said, "Research has proven that there is no mother to foetus transmission. Those who are undergoing IVF treatment also should abandon the cycle as per the American Society of Reproductive Medicine guidelines. There are no chances of miscarriage due to the virus."
Speaking about new mothers, she said, "They can breastfeed their babies as virus transmission doesn't happen through breast milk. There may be problems due to close contact between the mother and baby. A COVID-19 positive mother's saliva may infect the baby so it's important to properly wash hands before feeding and to wear masks as well. Babies should be fed using clean feeding bottles as well."
Senior gynecologist Dr. Arun Gawade said, "I have been studying the cases reported in China, but no case has come to the fore where the virus has got transmitted to the newborn from a COVID-19 positive mother. But still it is important to take precautionary measures."
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