With Covid-19 impacting humanity in never-seen-before proportion, visionary healthcare leader Dr Hema Divakar has advised pregnant women to maintain strict social distancing by avoiding unnecessary visits to hospitals. Young nursing mothers must take adequate measures to ensure that the virus is not transmitted to infants.

“Social distancing and frequent hand washing are a must for pregnant women. They should stay home and reschedule their routine appointments if they don’t have a pregnancy with associated risks. They can communicate with their doctors on the phone or video call or chat or WhatsApp and sort out minor issues,” advised Dr Hema Divakar, Technical Advisor to the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

In a release here on Saturday, she said that the good news is that the virus does not lead to miscarriage, birth defects or premature delivery. It does not influence the health care provider to alter the time and mode of delivery.

“Given what we know about viruses, most cautious approach for mothers infected with the virus is to temporarily separate themselves from their babies while they are experiencing symptoms like a fever or cough. Infected mothers could also consider pumping breast milk and discarding it until they are no longer ill,” she added.

The CDC USA (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is not advising women infected with the virus or suspected of having it to avoid breastfeeding. Instead, the interim guidance for them is to wash their hands before touching the baby and wear a face mask, if possible, while breastfeeding.

Dr Hema cautioned saying that “as time goes on and, inevitably, more pregnant women do contract the virus, we will know more about how the virus behaves, but for now taking sensible precautions – hand washing, social distancing, staying at home, not having visitors – is the most sensible course of action”

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