Coronavirus during pregnancy
Cases of pneumonia or, in other words, pneumonia with an unknown cause, were reported for the first time on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan, China’s Hubei province. As a result of the researches, it was announced on January 7, 2020, that a virus that had never been seen before in humans appeared. Although the source of the virus cannot be determined exactly, it has been understood that the virus, which can be transmitted from person to person, is a new species belonging to the coronavirus family. The coronavirus, which causes a common health problem worldwide, has come to the fore due to the epidemic it has created globally. In the family where the new type of coronavirus, also defined as 2019-nCoV, is alpha, There are 4 different types, beta, gamma and delta. The disease caused by the new type of coronavirus, which has been observed to be found in humans, bats, cats, dogs, pigs, poultry and rodents, ranges from simple colds to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrom (SARS). The new type of coronavirus, which belongs to the same family as SARS, which first appeared in 2002 and the virus that caused Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012, is much faster than SARS, although it is not as lethal as SARS. It is a disease characterized by shortness of breath defined as cough, fever and dyspnea, especially the infection caused by COVID-19, which is seen as an epidemic all over the world today.
Does Coronavirus Create Risk for Pregnant Women?
Young people with good general health and a strong immune system can overcome the disease with mild cold symptoms. Pregnant women are not seen in the high risk group during the period when the elderly and those with chronic diseases are evaluated in the high risk group. Since December 2019, when the coronavirus first appeared in the world, there is no data showing that the virus has been passed on to the unborn baby. However, many physiological and immunological changes occur in the body of the expectant mother during pregnancy. Accordingly, if mothers are infected with coronavirus, symptoms such as cough, fever, respiratory distress, nausea, vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, muscle and joint pain can be seen in all humans. Due to the suppression of the immune system during pregnancy, expectant mothers may experience more severe infections. However, a comprehensive study has not yet been conducted on the effects of COVID-19, which is caused by coronavirus, during pregnancy. Although there is no data that the expectant mother infected with coronavirus infects the baby in her womb, this situation can be considered as probable when considering diseases such as SARS and MERS caused by other viruses belonging to the coronavirus family. There is not enough data yet on whether it has been concluded or not. In other words, it is not clear whether the premature birth of a coronavirus-positive expectant mother is a normal process or a condition caused by the coronavirus. However, it is known that viral infections such as influenza that involve the respiratory tract cause premature birth or the birth of the baby with a low birth weight. Although there are no cases in the literature showing that coronavirus affects the health of the baby in the womb, there are cases showing that the disease is transmitted vertically. However, in these cases, it has not been determined whether the coronavirus was transmitted to the baby in the womb or during birth.
How Should Pregnant Women Be Protected From Coronavirus?
The coronavirus is transmitted to healthy people by contact with the infected person or by droplets. Therefore, the mode of transmission to pregnant individuals is the same as for other people. Basic hygiene rules are among the primary methods of protecting pregnant women from coronavirus. In particular, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is extremely important. Mouth, nose and eyes should not be touched with hands, and disposable napkins should be used when sneezing. If a napkin is not available, it should be sneezed in the elbow. Unless it is necessary, the house should not be left and guests should not be accepted. When you need to leave the house, you should wear a mask and avoid crowded environments. Within the framework of social distance rules, other people should not be approached more than 2 meters, handshake or hugged. Money, elevator button, Hands should be washed with soap and water after touching objects that many people touch during the day, such as doorbells. Personal items such as mobile phones, towels, glasses should not be shared with others. During this period, they should not be in closed and unventilated environments. Attention should be paid to sleeping patterns, healthy and balanced nutrition. At least 2 liters of water should be drunk throughout the day, not to travel to risky areas, and public transportation should not be used unless necessary.
What Should Breastfeeding Mothers Pay Attention To?
As a result of the limited studies carried out during the coronavirus epidemic, it was not found that coronavirus was transmitted from breast milk to the baby. No virus was found in milk samples taken from breastfeeding mothers who were positive for coronavirus. Therefore, there is no need for mothers who have just given birth to refrain from breastfeeding their babies. Breastfeeding mothers with COVID-19 should wash their hands with water and soap and wear a mask and gloves before breastfeeding their babies. If possible, respiratory hygiene should be applied during breastfeeding. However, if this does not affect the mother, breast milk can be expressed and given to the baby through a bottle. The baby can be fed with the method defined as relactation. When necessary, ready-made formula or donor breast milk can be given to the baby.
How Should Pregnancy Follow-Up During Coronavirus Period?
General isolation and personal quarantine, which is an effective way in coronavirus, can lead to prolonged pregnancy follow-up intervals. In addition, expectant mothers’ refraining from entering the hospital environment may likewise cause disruption to doctor visits. Although this situation can be tolerated for a while in pregnancies with a normal course, it may bring problems in high-risk pregnancies. In other words, the measures taken to protect against coronavirus can sometimes have negative effects on the health of the mother and baby. It should be kept in mind that the first 12 weeks of pregnancy carry the risk of miscarriage. In addition, the 16th and 20th weeks are among the important periods in pregnancy follow-up. Therefore, it is definitely not recommended for expectant mothers to abandon pregnancy follow-up completely. However, within the scope of the measures taken, 34. Routine pregnancy checks performed once a month until the 1st week can be increased to 1 and a half months, and the controls every 2 weeks after the 34th week to 3 weeks. It is extremely important to have an online interview with the physician or to stay in touch by phone. Thus, the physician can plan when the expectant mother should come for control, and warn against skipping risky periods.
Does Coronavirus Affect Your Delivery Method?
Delivery by natural means or by cesarean is decided according to the current course of pregnancy, the health status of the expectant mother and baby. In the light of limited research, it can be said that the coronavirus is not related to the mode of birth. Therefore, the mode of delivery can be carried out as planned. If the general health of the mother and baby is good, vaginal delivery may be preferred. It is extremely important for the health of the mother and baby to continue to apply the social isolation rules not to accept visitors to the house after birth.
What should be done if coronavirus is caught during pregnancy?
In the event that coronavirus is caught despite all the precautions taken, the expectant mother should apply to the nearest health institution by wearing a mask. Radiological imaging methods such as tomography may be required for the diagnosis of COVID-19. After the physician takes the necessary precautions for the baby, radiological imaging can be performed. Therefore, it is recommended that the expectant mother consent to such tests for her own health. In case pregnant women catch coronavirus, the treatment and follow-up process is not applied differently than other individuals. During this period, the physician can apply the treatment of the person at home or in the hospital, depending on the general health status of the expectant mother.
Do not hesitate to apply to the nearest health institution after taking the necessary precautions to follow up your pregnancy during the coronavirus epidemic. We wish you healthy days.