Is COVID impacting pregnancy?

Is COVID-19 effecting the health of a pregnant or a new mom along with her baby? If at all yes, how and what to do about the situation?

The evidence that we have from the early studies during the pandemic when it began in 2020 in Italy was that it had a major impact on the breastfeeding rates which dropped amongst the educated Urban population and we experienced a drop in rates, even in India. The second wave of the novel coronavirus is seeing more and more pregnant and new mothers contracting the virus.

However, we now have a lot of clarity on this matter and with new protocols in place, it’s now construed that

If it is mild to medium case as well as if the mother can manage, she is encouraged to breastfeed with basic sanitary measures like washing hands and wearing a mask due to respiratory distress.

If the mother is in need of hospitalization, then of course she needs to be separated from the baby otherwise there is no need to stop breastfeeding and separate the baby from his / her mother.

There has been a sharp increase in the rates of pre-mature births, gestational diabetes, gestational thyroid amongst other things.

What’s surprising is, that we are seeing this in not only the COVID-positive expecting mothers but also mothers who are pregnant but haven’t contracted COVID-19. There is no co-relation between COVID-positive mothers and pre-mature births, but there is a definite co-relation between extreme fear and anxiety amongst the existing population and expecting mothers which is causing this phenomenon.

Rates of gestational diabetes and thyroid are increasing because of extensive fear and anxiety amongst the maternity population which leads to increased glucose levels in the body which in turn rises cortisol release in the body. So, we are constantly facing a fear which is invisible, we don’t know what is going to happen and when we are extremely anxious and afraid, the fetus and the mother fight for perceived survival. In such cases, there is major cortisol release and an ongoing survival mechanism all the time. In addition to this, when we have excess glucose and distress in the system, we get high blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol which in turn gives rise to pre-mature deliveries because the body goes on to overdrive and overprotection.

What can be done? In terms of stress-release and safety measures, here are some tips you can follow:

Wash your hands at intervals.

Wear a mask when you are visiting a doctor or someone is visiting you.

Take care of your nutrition and consume homecooked fresh meals every day with proper, balanced portions.

Optimum movement in a day is moving every hour for 5-10 minutes to balance glucose levels in the body. Do house chores or take a stroll around the house or any stretching exercise.

Indulge in mindfulness exercises like prayer, gratitude, meditation, visualization, chanting and focused breathing practices such as “pranayama”. These practices also help a breastfeeding mother postnatally, to cope with the challenges of having COVID while breastfeeding or surviving through a pandemic to have a strong mental resilience while bringing up an infant of 0-6 months.

I have been working with expecting and new mothers, trying to help them wade through the constant fear and anxiety during this pandemic, keeping in mind the COVID-19 protocols and the SOP guidelines that can be followed. If you have questions too, get in touch with me and we can work together on this. Sign up for my Revolutionary COVID-19 care program.

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