Centre issues fresh recommendations for pregnant, lactating women battling Covid. Check here

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: In a fresh advisory issued on Monday, the Union Health Ministry said that Covid positive mothers can continue to breastfeed their babies but should keep them at least six feet away when not breastfeeding.

It also said that in pregnant women, overall health check-ups post-Covid recovery should be carried out to ensure that the mother and the foetus are doing fine. 

An interview with Manju Puri, head of the department, obstetrics and gynaecology at the Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi released by the ministry said that during the second wave, many women contracted Covid during pregnancy compared to the first wave.

Covid, if severe, can lead to serious complications during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester as the uterus is enlarged and presses on the diaphragm, compromising a woman’s ability to cope with a fall in oxygen saturation.

“This may lead to a sudden fall in blood oxygen saturation and risk the lives of both the mother and the child,” said the doctor, adding that the vaccines will help prevent severe disease in pregnant women.

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Also, vaccinating a mother is likely to give some degree of protection to the newborn as the antibodies developed in the mother’s body post-vaccination will pass on to the developing foetus through her blood.

In the case of lactating mothers, an infant gets these antibodies through the mother’s breast milk, she explained.

The advisory said that while during an active infection, a mother should continue to breastfeed the baby but is advised to keep the baby at a distance of 6 feet from her when she is not breastfeeding.

A caregiver who is tested negative can also help in taking care of the newborn and the mother can take necessary precautions such as wearing protective gear like a mask, face shield while breastfeeding.

“If there is no one else to take care of the child, a mother should wear a mask all the time, and maintain physical distance from the child as much as possible,” Puri suggested.

“The mother and the child should stay in a well-ventilated room. And she should regularly wash her hands and sanitise the surroundings.”