Srinagar Mar 22: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Sunday said pregnant women are not at higher risk of developing severe disease from the novel (new) coronavirus than the general population.
“Pregnant women are less likely to become severely unwell if they contract the novel virus,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Quoting a WHO report, based on data from 147 pregnant women of whom 64 were confirmed to have the new coronavirus, 82 were suspected cases and one was asymptomatic, he said only 8% had severe disease and just 1% were critically ill.
“Most of the pregnant women had mild to moderate disease,” Dr Nisar said adding “there have been no reported deaths of pregnant women from the disease.”
He said there is no evidence that the virus passes to the baby during pregnancy.
Quoting a study published in the Lancet, Dr Nisar said the infants born to women with coronavirus infection were free of the virus and appeared healthy at birth. The virus was not found in the mother’s breast milk, cord blood or amniotic fluid.
“The studies are reassuring, but that does not mean we lower our guard,” cautioned Dr Nisar.
“Pregnant women should take all the same precautions as the general public, such as avoiding sick people and public gatherings, frequently washing hands,” he advised.
Dr Nisar said pregnant women should cut down the routine visits to hospitals as much as they can and consult their health care providers on phone.
But, prenatal care is very hands on, involving listening to the heart tones of the baby, determining the position of the baby, ultrasounds of the baby and so on. None of this can be done via a phone call,” he said.
“In order to make hospital visits safer, we should make sure waiting rooms are not crowded, they are constantly clean, and well and ill women are separated,” he added
“If you are feeding a baby and you have no symptoms hand hygiene is the key. If you do have symptoms then you need to pump the breast milk into a bottle and get someone else to feed the baby,” said Dr Nisar.