What are the precautions to follow if babies are born during COVID 19 pandemic?

If you are a pregnant or a new parent and worried about the well-being and safety of their newborn at birth, then read on as Dr. Vanshika Gupta Adukia shared her insights on the same.
Health & Fitness,Coronavirus,newborn baby,precautions for newbornPrecautions to take care of newborn babies who were born during COVID 19 pandemic
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While the pandemic of COVID-19 has gripped the globe and left every individual scrambling for their own safety, pregnant women and new parents are left worried about the well-being and safety of their newborn at birth. Studies are beginning to shed light on the fact that with the recent deliveries during the pandemic and of to those mothers who were infected with the virus- no traces of the COVID-19 infection were found in the amniotic fluid, placental tissue or even breastmilk which currently explains that there has not been any vertical or in-utero transmission of the virus from the mother to the baby in the womb.

This also explains that it is most likely, that newborns acquire this infection by coming in contact with an infected individual. A recent study followed 33 babies born to infected mothers in Wuhan, China. Only three babies tested positive for the virus but made full recovery within seven days of birth. It is also known, although through limited data, that children in general rarely have severe complications to the infections. Of 731 children who were confirmed to have COVID-19 and its symptoms only 21 developed severe symptoms. Babies are also believed to be infected but asymptomatic.

The World Health Organization guideline now strongly recommends that even if a mother were infected with the novel coronavirus, she must look at breastfeeding while taking precautions such as wearing a mask. In all practicality, if a COVID-19 positive new mother was skeptical to breastfeed and come in contact with her newborn, she must be encouraged to express her milk with precaution and then have someone feed the same to the newborn. Breastmilk, as we know, has been found to be safe and free of the virus in the current data at hand. Keeping in mind the benefits that breastmilk provides newborns, including its ability to help build a strong immune system, protection against infections, the transmission of antibodies and immunoglobulins- at no point should breastfeeding or giving breastmilk to a newborn be discouraged.

For those families who are healthy and free of the virus- look at maintaining social distancing and practicing self-isolation to its maximum with a recovering new mother and newborn. Restrict any outsiders from visiting the hospital (most hospitals are not allowing more than one attended in their premises and have also discontinued visiting hours for the time being) or home. Avoid the idea of hiring any help that is already not present in the house since prior to the pandemic. This would include jappas, maids, nurses and even visiting hourly staff.

The same would be extended to even letting family and friends come home from any form of travel. Newborn chores although umpteen must be divided and limited amongst family members at home. Ensure utmost care and sanitization from time to time with all newborn things being washed with soap before and after use. Doctor visits and appointments must be done telephonically or online to avoid exposing the newborn to crowds. Only if the doctor deems it necessary for an in-person appointment, look at heading to the doctor’s chamber/hospital. 

By Dr. Vanshika Gupta Adukia, pregnancy and lactaction specialist, prenatal-postnatal fitness expert and a pelvic floor therapist and the founder of Therhappy.

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