Pregnancy and Birth in CORONA time …

The whole world lives today in fear of COVID-19, no one knows when it will end. People in lockdown across the globe are waiting for their freedom from this deadly virus with the ray of hope of the arrival of new vaccination soon. Hope is what keeps us alive in a situation like this … a hope for a better future, a hope for a virus-free environment, a hope to go back to normal life again. But we all have to wait until this period is over. In India, we were expecting that lockdown would be lifted soon, but every time the lockdown end date is near, the news is out that the Lockdown is extended again, currently, India is under Lockdown 4.0, it seems like this waiting period is not getting over. This waiting period reminded me of my pregnancy period, yes, the whole 9 months to be exact 268 days. Looking at this pandemic, I give all thanks to my Almighty God that he blessed and gave me the chance to give birth to new life before this pandemic. My little angel was born at the end of November 2019, just around two months before the outbreak of coronavirus in India on 30th January 2020. I feel so blessed that I delivered a healthy baby without any fear of this virus. It is all the mercy of God on me and my family. 

But, this gave me food for thought about what will happen to all those pregnant mothers who are expecting their deliveries in this lockdown period? Will their deliveries be normal or infected mothers have to go thru C-section? Will babies be healthy? If the mother gets infected with a virus, will it be transferred to the new born? Will the newborn receive breastfeed milk of corona positive mother? Will they keep the mother and new born isolated for the next 14 days? How the new born will survive the separation from his mother during the quarantine period? If the mother takes a heavy dose of medicine to combat COVID-19, will this affect her breastmilk? If a newborn doesn’t receive colostrum (first thick breastmilk), will the baby have a good immune system later? How is the new father going to handle this emotional stress? Will delivering a baby still be a happy moment? Does the maternity hospitals have made all the necessary arrangements for all protection from the virus? Is there any cost escalation in delivery charges?   

So many questions were hovering in my mind, just even thinking about them gave me goosebumps and a chill went running down thru my spine for a minute and I just said God bless and protect these mothers and their newborn from this virus. 

Indian government along with the co-operation of state governments took immediate steps to restrict the spread of the virus and avoid huge spikes in contamination numbers, India has done quite well in comparison with many countries as per WHO (World Health Organization) sources. The government of India has also launched Aarogya Setu App on 2nd April 2020 using your smartphone’s Bluetooth and GPS which provides vital information by keeping track and statistics of coronavirus positive people. The app is built for iOS and Android users and it is also available in 11 regional languages to cater to the huge masses of India.

Watching the NEWS channel to get information about COVID-19 is turning out to be more depressing as days are passing by in this lockdown. Looking at the continuous rise in the number of patients and death toll across the globe is frightening. While I was watching all this corona news, on 14th May 2020, Halleluiah my eyeballs caught fantastic news of new hope, my heart was delighted to see this news: “Positive news! Sion Hospital delivers over 100 healthy babies of COVID-19 moms”

This news just answered many questions that were popping out in my mind. Happy to share this news with all of you and highlighting some brief points:

  • A separate ward was created for COVID-19 patients in just 3 weeks.
  • Doctors are wearing PPE suits during the delivery process.
  • Out of 103 deliveries – 48 were normal and 55 thru C-section.
  • Mothers are allowed to breastfeed their babies after wearing a mask.
  • Operation Theatres are strictly and swiftly disinfected.
  • Doctors replace their sterile gowns and gloves before every delivery with new ones.
  • Hospital administration has stated that not a single healthcare worker involved in deliveries has been infected with COVID-19.
  • Sion Hospital is run by the civic body of Mumbai – MCGM.

Also, another Mumbai civic body-run Hospital – BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai Central has created a separate ward for COVID-19 infected mothers. 69 deliveries were carried out there and none of the babies have tested positive. Head of Paediatrics – Dr. Sushma Malik said babies should be allowed to breastfeed their babies unless the mothers are serious. Mothers are asked to maintain strict hand and respiratory hygiene. Only the mother is allowed to hold the baby. Hospital has strictly adopted the “No Visitor” policy, a staff wearing a PPE suit goes out of the ward and informs the family about the birth of the child and the mothers’ health status. On 18th May 2020 Nair hospital crossed its 100th baby (virus-free) from COVID-19 positive mother. Nair Hospital’s assistant medical officer, Dr. Sarika Chapane, said COVID-19 has become a new normal for them. “We are learning to deal with the virus every day by innovating and plugging the gaps. These babies are a testimony to that,” she said.

This is the silver lining in times of CORONA. New hope of Life, a moment of joy. Bless You, Mom. God bless the newborn and family. Cheers to the beginning of new Life in CORONA times.

Well as I said, most of my questions and dilemmas were answered after the above news came out. Hope it must have answered your questions as well. Still, the curious mother in me has few more questions unanswered, so while I search for those answers and bring them to your notice, wait for my next blog where I would share their life-changing experience while delivering a baby in CORONA time. Do reach out to me, if you have any queries regarding this blog on [email protected] 

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