If you are pregnant, are planning to get pregnant, or had recently been pregnant, you might be concerned about the risks of COVID in you and your baby.
During pregnancy, an increased risk of contracting COVID and developing severe infection has been reported. The risk factors for contracting the virus are the same as those in the general population:
being more than 25 years old
living or working in a place with low levels of vaccination
living or working in a place with many cases of COVID infection in the community
living or working in overcrowded places where social distancing of 6ft cannot be maintained
some minorities like Black or Hispanic women have been reported to be more susceptible to COVID infection due to unknown causes
being a part of a community that faces health inequities
Is vaccination safe?
Several studies have been conducted to monitor and study the effect of vaccination during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Getting vaccinated has been reported to be safe for you and your baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and is encouraged to prevent developing severe disease.
The antibodies formed due to vaccination can cross the placenta during pregnancy, or travel through milk during breastfeeding. This protects your child.
There has been no evidence of any adverse effects due to vaccination on fertility. So you can get vaccinated even if you are planning or trying to get pregnant.
Taking booster shots has also been reported safe among pregnant women.
Are you infected?
Vertical transmission (transmission of infection from mother to fetus during pregnancy) is unlikely. Very few cases of neonatal infection have been reported and it is unknown whether the transmission occurred before, during, or after birth.
If you are breastfeeding, you should continue feeding your baby if possible. The virus is unlikely to be transmitted via breast milk.
Caring for your child during an active infection should be done only after taking adequate preventive measures. Make sure to wash your hands properly and wear a mask. However, if you have a severe infection, you may have to be temporarily separated from your child.
Long-term effects of severe COVID infection during pregnancy may include a higher risk of preterm birth (giving birth before 37 weeks) and you may have to undergo a Caesarean section during delivery. Antenatal corticosteroid use for threatened preterm birth is likely to be safe for the mother, and corticosteroid use for severe maternal disease may be beneficial. Asymptomatic infection during pregnancy is common and has uncertain clinical significance.
Both pregnancy and COVID-19 infection are states which increase the likelihood of clotting in your body. If you are worried about the risk of clotting, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Clinicians should also consider a lower threshold for pregnant and infected patients while screening.
Treatment during pregnancy includes symptomatic management. You should increase your fluid intake and try to get as much rest as possible. Your doctor may give you medicines to decrease fever, alleviate pain and reduce coughing.
Other effects of the pandemic
The pandemic and lockdown may cause mental health distress and intimate partner violence. These issues should be screened for if possible. Post-partum depression (depression after delivery) may be more common and severe due to the pandemic. Talk to someone about your problems. If you feel like harming yourself or your baby, you should get help immediately.