Two doctors help us understand how pregnant women can stay healthy and calm during the COVID-19 crisis.
“As a doctor, it is my responsibility to help as many people as I can during this crisis,” begins Dr Reubina KD Singh, MS (OB-GYN) in a conversation with The Better India.
“One of my patients was suffering from acute endometriosis and was unable to get medicine. I connected her to a pharmacy that helped in procuring it for her,” she adds.
Dr Singh is the Director of Grace Fertility Centre in Gurgaon, and since the 21-day-lockdown was announced, has been counselling and conducting consultations via the phone.
Initially, this facility was offered to only her patients, but when word spread and anxious women started calling her, she extended her services and now takes calls from all over the country.
What is the fear, and how can it be managed?
Dr Singh explains that while hospitals are functional, pregnant women are just fearful of leaving their homes and getting to the hospital.
“They worry about contracting the virus during their hospital visit. This anxiety is especially heightened in women who are very close to their delivery date. In essence, they are worried not just for themselves but also about whether or not the doctor will be able to make it in time for the delivery. Even post-delivery the fear of whether the child will contract the virus in any manner is very real,” she adds.
Dr Singh helps with some tips that might help pregnant women stay calm during these testing times.
• Keep the worry and anxiousness at bay as much as possible. Dr Singh says that as of now there is no conclusive evidence to show that a newborn can be COVID-19 positive.
• Ensure that you continue following the necessary precautions, which include washing your hands often, not leaving the house unless it is of utmost importance, and even if you do leave to wear a mask and not come in contact with anyone who seems unwell.
• Practise social distancing in its true spirit at all times.
• At this time, it is essential that pregnant women ensure that they include immunity-boosting foods in their diet – have a lot of greens, fruits and vegetables. In case of non-availability of fresh fruits and vegetables often, continue to have home-cooked nutritious meals.
• If there are members of the family who spend a lot of time outside the home, they might consider staying away from them to avoid the transmission of the virus.
Basic things to know:
• From the end of the second trimester you can keep a track of the foetal movements. You must stay vigilant and keep track of this.
• “Atleast ten foetal movements in the day is what we recommend you observe,” says Dr Singh. In case you feel this is not the case, it is advisable to call your medical practitioner for a consult.
• Dr Singh also says that lying on the left lateral position is important, and pregnant women must keep this in mind.
• Hydration is of utmost importance. She also goes on to say that keeping oneself well hydrated is also very important
• Finally, ensure that your home is properly cleaned and sanitised.
How to reach Dr Singh?
Dr Singh is available on +91-75580 95116. While she has decided to make her phone number available on the public domain, we do urge you to reach out to her only in case of an emergency.
In addition to Dr Singh, TBI also spoke to Dr Uma Ram, a Chennai-based gynaecologist and obstetrician about how pregnant women can stay healthy and relatively worry-free during this uncertain time.
“One in five pregnant women we see have gestational diabetes or high sugars in pregnancy. This lockdown is going to cause problems for all of them because they may not be able to exercise, get enough veggies or do blood tests.
Dr Ram has provided some tips, that can prevent your blood sugar from spiralling out of control during pregnancy.
1. Walk on your terrace or inside your house especially after meals. If you have a step counter do use it to track the number of steps you have taken.
2. Do perform some upper body exercises. You can also help with some light chores around the house.
3. Being conscious about your diet is even more critical if you can’t exercise as much. This is a stressful time. It may be natural to feel worried or but anxious. Don’t confuse that for hunger and seek out high calorie or sugared comfort food.
6. Get a sugar testing device and check your sugars to keep it in control. If there is a BP monitor at home that’s well-calibrated use it to check your blood pressure as your routine check-up frequency may be reduced.
Note: Women with GDM are at higher risk of developing BP in pregnancy, so it’s essential to keep an eye out for that too.
7. Keep the communication channel with your doctor open and transparent at all times. Mail your reports to ensure that your doctor is also on the same page. Some routine scans may be cancelled, do not worry about it.
8. Finally, stay home and stay safe.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)