Virtual Summit on Maternal Health: Care During Corona Virus

Practice Social Distancing at Home, Workout Indoors, Use Teleconsultation: Doctors Advise Expecting Mothers to beat the COVID Outbreak

At a time when the fear of coronavirus disease has forced us to stay home, leading gynecologists and obstetricians from all over India at a web summit have advised expecting mothers to take every possible precaution to prevent getting infected and continue their exercises indoors to avoid unwanted weight gain.

“In the current situation, it is not advisable to go out for a walk or exercise. Expecting mothers should continue doing exercises at home – they can exercise in between rooms or in corridors or terrace, without going out. There are numerous apps that track footsteps that tell how many steps one has walked; it is a good way to measure if you have fulfilled your exercise need for the day. Yoga is a great exercise for pregnant women. In fact, something as basic as household chores can be a good exercise – we have not seen any major weight gain in pregnant women who have done household work during the lockdown period of 3 weeks as there were no maids or helps available,” said Dr. Jayasree Sundar, Director – Obstetrics & Gynecology, Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, New Delhi.

Virtual Summit on Maternal Health Care During Corona Virus - Integrated Health and Wellbeing CouncilThe virtual summit on maternal health care during the coronavirus pandemic, organized by the Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council, was attended by Dr. Sandeep Chadha, Consultant, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida, Dr. Adarsh Bhargava, Head of Department, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur, and Dr. Hema Divakar, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Medical Director, Divakars Speciality Hospital, Bengaluru & CEO – ARTIST, among others.

Doctors at the summit also laid down guidelines for pregnant women asking them to be careful and vigilant about social distancing but not panic.

“Be careful about social distancing even at home – don’t sit very close to anyone, wash your hands up to elbow with soap and water, drink warm water, see a doctor if you have fever, cough, fatigue or respiratory problem and ensure respiratory cleansing with salt water gargles or water with a few drops of betadine. Take a balanced diet and note the movement of the baby following the principle of ’10 am to 10 pm 10 movements of the baby’ at home. Visit the doctor between 11 and 13 weeks, 18 and 20 weeks for anomaly check of the fetus; visits after 32 weeks should be limited and after 37 weeks, one should visit when she gets the pain,” said Dr. Adarsh Bhargava, Head of Department, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur.

The web-based session was fourth in the series of virtual summits being held by the IHW Council, a premier think tank that advocates for a healthy world through multilateral stakeholder engagement.

“Life on earth does not stop for anything or anybody, and even amid this raging pandemic, families are welcoming their progenies. More than 2.5 crore children are born in India every year. However, due to the very nature of the disease, it is imperative that everyone who is dealing with an expecting mother or will deal with her at some point in time are aware of the basics, the dos and don’ts. Besides, the guard needs to be up even after a child is born. The web-based summits will enable people living in the peripheries of the cities as well as villages to access experts’ answers on their questions and allay their apprehensions. We roped in a sign language interpreter from Indian Sign Language Interpretation Association (ISLIA)  for this session so that we can reach those who use alternative communication methods,” said Mr. Kamal Narayan, CEO, IHW Council.

More than 10,000 people have been infected with the highly-contagious COVID-19 virus in India while over 1,500 people have died so far since the first case was reported in January. A nation-wide lockdown was extended this week to prevent the spread of the virus along with a slew of other necessary and related measures. Doctors said that unless it is a high-risk pregnancy, expecting mothers should connect to the doctors over phone or video calls and reduce the number of visits to the hospital.

“For those who suspect a pregnancy but are not sure, we generally conduct a confirmatory USG in the 8th week. However, now we are asking such women to take a good diet and folic acid and come in the 10th week. If we have to skip level 1 USG for any reason, level 2 USG between 18 and 20 weeks becomes a must. The growth scan can be skipped but the doppler scan is important. We take extra care to educate expecting mothers to check the progress of their pregnancies by monitoring themselves such as tracking the growth of the fundal height, i.e. the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus,” said Dr. Amita Shah, Chief and Senior Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon.

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