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With Covid-19 impacting humanity in never-seen-before proportion, visionary healthcare leader Dr. Hema Divakar has advised pregnant women to maintain strict social distancing by avoiding unnecessary visits to hospitals. Young nursing mothers must take adequate measures to ensure that virus is not transmitted to infants.
“Social distancing and frequent handwashing are a must for pregnant women. It is better they stay home and reschedule their routine appointments if they don't have a pregnancy with associated risks. They can communicate with their doctors on the phone or video call or chat or WhatsApp and sort out minor issues,” advised Dr. Hema Divakar, Technical Advisor to the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
The good news is that the virus does not lead to miscarriage, birth defects or premature delivery. It does not influence the health care provider to alter the time and mode of delivery.
“Given what we know about viruses, most cautious approach for mothers infected with the virus is to temporarily separate themselves from their babies while they are experiencing symptoms like a fever or cough. Infected mothers could also consider pumping breast milk and discarding it until they are no longer ill,” she added.
The C.D.C. USA (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is not advising women infected with the virus or suspected of having it to avoid breastfeeding. Instead, the interim guidance for them is to wash their hands before touching the baby and wear a face mask, if possible, while breastfeeding.
“As time goes on and, inevitably, more pregnant women do contract the virus, we will know more about how the virus behaves, but for now taking sensible precautions - handwashing, social distancing, staying at home, not having visitors - is the most sensible course of action,” Dr. Hema cautioned.