Medical professionals advise against treatment for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Are pregnant women more prone to catching COVID-19? Recently, there have been concerns regarding the health of pregnant women during this pandemic, and whether they are at a higher risk of contacting the disease, making them more “vulnerable”?

The Dubai Health Authority took to Instagram to answer this question and offer guidelines to help pregnant women and expecting mothers deal with the crisis.

It has been more than a 100 days since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, and while scientists and healthcare professionals are finding ways to curb the virus, there is still a lot we don’t know.

Coronavirus and expectant mothers

According to an article published on March 20 on the Harvard Health Publishing, media division of Harvard Medical School of Harvard University: “No evidence shows that being pregnant increases a woman’s risk for getting COVID-19.” Neither does it put them at a higher risk of showing symptoms.

The article states that in the UK, pregnant women have been declared a part of the “vulnerable patient population”, but there is no evidence demonstrating this. Pregnant woman “are just as likely as the general public” to develop symptoms.

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Dubai Health Authority guidelines

The Dubai Health Authority took to Instagram to offer guidelines for pregnant women during this crisis. The government body also states that there is no evidence that states that pregnant women are at a higher risk during this crisis.

According to the post: “Due to changes in their body and immune system… pregnant women can be badly affected by respiratory infections.”

The virus spreads through droplet infection and till date, the virus “has not been found in amniotic fluid” meaning that the foetus will not be affected.

The guideline says that it is preferred for pregnant women to “work from home”. The virus spreads in crowded places, which is why pregnant women should avoid coming in contact with people unnecessarily. They should avoid family members who display symptoms of respiratory disease.

Pregnant women should “remain in regular contact with their doctors” and if they feel like they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they should “immediately consult a specialised doctor”.

In order to keep healthy and build a better immune system, pregnant women should have a healthy diet, get enough sleep and stay active while in home quarantine.

The current situation is stressful and it is taking a toll on people’s mental health. While some individuals are tired of being housebound, others are anxious about catching the virus. The guideline advises pregnant women to talk to friends and family if they are feeling anxious. They can even seek professional help.

If you’re a new or expecting mother and have questions, the DHA has addressed common concerns.

Can mothers breastfeed their child if they have COVID-19? According to the Instagram post, the mother should consult with her doctor and take a decision based on their health if they are fit to breastfeed their baby.

If you have symptoms and decide to breastfeed, mothers need to “wash hands well before”, “wear a face mask” and “wash or wipe your breast well before and after breastfeeding”.

While it is found that pregnant women can’t pass on the virus to the foetus, after the baby is born however, “anybody can infect the newborn” with COVID-19.

As a result it is important to take precautions and build a strong immunity.