Amuseum, a forum that brings art and science together, attempted to look into the issues of pregnancy during the pandemic in a webinar held on Friday.

A pregnant woman in blue night coat stands with her left hand holding her stomach her face is not in the photo
Coronavirus Pregnancy Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 08:09

Stepping out to the hospital each time for her routine pregnancy check is an altogether fearful experience for Aswathy. She is six months pregnant with her second child. The 27-year-old constantly fights the fear of contracting the coronavirus. 

“It is the worst when we have to use the toilets while going to the lab to examine blood or urine. There is only one pair of chappals kept for all to wear while using washrooms that makes me really scared. And it would take time to get the results and to reach home and to take a bath. I get tensed all the time despite wearing masks and using hand sanitizers,” she tells TNM.

The 27-year old hails from Kollam and her first child is five years old.

She had opted for a COVID-19 test out of fear, though she didn’t have any symptoms of the infection and tested negative.

“The worry is not just about me and the kid I am pregnant with, but also about the older kid. Doctors are all friendly to me, but visiting the hospital every time is a nightmare. I would think of rushing back home, but it takes time,” she says.

Read: Pregnant women advised to remain in ‘room quarantine’ in Thiruvananthapuram

Amuseum, a forum that brings art and science together, attempted to look into the issues of pregnancy during the pandemic in a webinar held on Friday. The webinar cited the chances of various types of mental pressures also because the ‘usual warmth in the doctor-patient relationship is lost’ during the pandemic time.

The panelists pointed out that the pandemic time is not safe for pregnancy.

“There is a possibility of at least five percent of pregnant women getting infected with the virus and for the infection to be severe. It has not yet been scientifically found out if the disease would be transmitted to the kid from the mother during pregnancy. But the infection may cause blood pressure, pneumonia and heart-related issues and may affect multiple organs in pregnant women. As per the directions of the World Health Organisation (WHO), pregnant women should visit hospital in the 12th, 20th, 28th and 36th weeks to minimise hospital visits,” the webinar cited.

Revathy, a 22-year-old, shares a similar opinion. She delivered a baby a month ago. “I wished I got pregnant and the delivery was at some other time. When I go to the hospital, no one would be allowed to enter the doctor’s room with me. This would make me more fearful. The COVID situation became grim during the sixth month of pregnancy and it has been taking a toll on mental health. Now I am relieved,” she tells TNM.

Not an apt time for infertility treatment

“It hasn't been clear yet on how COVID-19 affects pregnant women. Conclusive results are yet to come out,” Dr Ajith, a doctor based out of Thiruvananthapuram and a part of Amuesum, tells TNM.

Hence, the suggestion was that the pandemic time is not the one to go for an infertility treatment.

Reproductive medicine consultant Dr Anupama, infertility specialist Dr B Prasanna Kumari, consultant gynecologist Dr NR Reena, pediatrician Dr I Riyaz, pediatric consultant Dr PJ James, Dr JS Veena, Dr Sajeesh Gopalan and social activist Maithreyen were the panelists of the webinar.

The webinar also discussed the possible deficiency of Vitamin D in pregnant women as they don't step out and hence, don't get sunlight.  

“The side effects of the coronavirus in the first three months of pregnancy haven’t been traced yet. Effective contraceptives should be used. Also if a couple want abortion, that should be done without delay,” the webinar suggested.

“It has been suggested for men to avoid penetrative sex as it’s not usual to use condoms. Even the responsibility of preventing unwanted pregnancy is mostly on women like inserting (intrauterine devices) or taking preventive pills,” Dr Ajith says.

“The doctors were generally of the opinion that abortion should be allowed if the couple wish for it as they must be thinking of avoiding risk during a pandemic,” Dr Veena tells TNM. 

Also read: Kerala Anganwadi workers hold online sessions to advise pregnant women

Watch: Impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and kids

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.