Pregnancy in the pandemic

Pregnancy in the pandemic

Asyia Qadir

Pregnant women may easily fall prey to the Covid-19 pandemic because their immune system is already in strain. During pregnancy a woman undergoes different complicated processes to ensure the acceptance of the foetus. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), two strains of the coronavirus, have been known to cause severe complications in pregnancy. Pregnancy is a physiological state which makes a woman more susceptible to infections. According to experts, pregnant women are the first who should wear masks and practice physical distancing. Research by scientists all over the world is being done to know the effects of Covid-19 on women who are in the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy. There is no evidence of vertical transmission of Covid-19 in pregnant women (Jie Yan et al, 2020) and also the increased risk of miscarriage has not been documented in infected women. Another study carried out by Augusto Pereira et al shows that in 70% of the pregnant women, the impact of Covid-19 was mild while 30% developed pneumonia. However, some studies suggest that the probability of infected pregnant women to land in ICUs is more than those not pregnant. As per a study published in a journal of endocrinology, Covid-19 infected women are at high risk of blood clotting that may lead to the restriction of blood flow to the baby.
Due to immunologic and physiologic changes in pregnant women, they were vulnerable to Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic as well. The epidemic emerged in early 2015 in north eastern Brazil. Since then, its transmission has been confined to 35 countries. Birth defects surged due to Zika virus in many countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Zika Virus transmitted from a pregnant woman to her foetus but this is not the case with the novel coronavirus.
In Kashmir for the past three months, cases of pregnant women infected with Covid-19 have been rising. Kashmir recorded a spark spike in pregnant women testing positive for Covid-19 in four days of June. The pregnant women became infected mostly in hospitals. Doctors have now advised them not to visit hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres unnecessarily. Many pregnant women have died due to this pandemic in the valley. In the month of May the administration of Jammu and Kashmir made the testing of pregnant women mandatory.
Expecting mothers thus are at high risk die to this pandemic. They should take proper precautions to protect themselves and their child from this virus. The first precaution is to avoid visiting hospitals and health care centers unnecessarily, stay home and safe, and just enjoy the upcoming motherhood.

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