How a multidisciplinary approach works for pregnant women with severe Covid-19.
Deepali Nandwani |Special to GN Focus
Filed on 2021-06-27 | Last updated on 2021-06-27 12:05:22
In November last year, the US health authorities added pregnancy to the list of conditions that put people with Covid-19 at increased risk of developing severe illness, raising the vigil on pregnant women suffering from illness.
The American health authorities based their prognosis on a strong foundation: the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a large study, involving 409,462 symptomatic women of ages 15-44 who tested positive for the coronavirus, 23,434 of whom were pregnant.
The study found pregnant women afflicted with Covid were “significantly more likely to require intensive care, to be connected to a specialised heart-lung bypass machine, and to require mechanical ventilation than non-pregnant women of the same age that had Covid symptoms”.
The good news is that the risk of miscarriage is far lower in a Covid-infected woman if she is in the earlier stages of her pregnancy. “The transmission of the Covid-19 virus from the mother to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth, known as vertical transmission, seems to be uncommon,” says Dr Mona Mohammad Emad Saad, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Specialist at Burjeel Specialty Hospital in Sharjah. There is also no evidence of increased risk of stillbirth or infant death..
Dr Saad recommends taking folic acid and vitamin D supplements, and ensuring women get the pregnancy scans done regularly and keep antenatal appointments unless advised otherwise. Pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes form a special group who need frequent and strict monitoring. With defects in innate and adaptive immunity, they are more susceptible to infection. “Tight glycaemic control is an absolute prerequisite to ensure healthy outcomes.”
It is equally important for a pregnant woman infected by the coronavirus to take care of the increased amount of anxiety caused by both the disease and the isolation it enforces on you. Most pregnant women afflicted with Covid experience guilt and panic in equal measures, emotions that can further bring down immunity levels.
Medical authorities and experts globally suggest consulting mental health experts or a counsellor along with other doctors to ensure a pregnant woman recovers both mentally and physically.
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