Pregnant women are considered to be a ‘High-risk group’ for Covid-19 infection because they are vulnerable to developing severe illness and complications.Since these women are concerned about their unborn child and their own health condition, this has elevatedstress and anxiety levels among pregnant women.
MaroushaPandith (29), from Sopore is expecting her first child in the month of July.For Marousha, pregnancy experience has been affected by fear and anxiety of COVID-19. She as an expectant mother is fearful of even going to appointments.
“This virus has changed the dynamics of health care around the world. Nowadays you would see a lot of adaptation happening, certain appointments are over phone,” said Marousha.
Currently in her third trimester Marousha said, “It is extremely necessary to be examined by a doctor physically but due to this pandemic the consultation is done over phone only and it is the biggest drawback.”
“For women in their final weeks and months of pregnancy, the usual routines like postnatal check-up appointments are very important but are not happening,” she said.
She said, “While you cannot visit your doctor, the safest option for any pregnant woman is to speak to her doctor who is supporting her throughout the pregnancy.”
Marousha believes expecting women should always have someone nearby to support them, as long as the proper precautions are taken, such as wearing a mask.
“I am mentally stressed and I always want to be surrounded by my loved ones. There are many changes that you and your body undergo in pregnancy and what is worrying me is that even my family is maintaining distance with me to avoid infections but that only adds more to my stress,” said Marousha.
Shortage of medicines was something that has made Marousha’s pregnancy journey more difficult.
“There are certain medicines that are available only at your doctor’s clinic and because of the pandemic the clinics were closed, so I was unable to purchase those medicines,” she said.
RounaqAijaz (32), from Sanat Nagar who recently delivered her second child said taking care of the baby is more difficult than taking care of herself during the pregnancy.
“After your child is born, it is important to continue receiving healthcare support and guidance, including routine immunizations,” said Rounaq.
She said, “The best thing you can do is to take all necessary precautions to prevent yourself from contracting the Covid-19 virus. However, if you have just given birth and feel ill, then you should seek medical care promptly and follow instructions from your doctor.”
It was a really tough time for Rounaq when she contracted a viral infection during her third trimester.
“I went for a Color Doppler USG, I tried to maintain my distance, there were not many people inside the testing lab but I remained outside the lab before it was my turn to get the USG done but somehow due to my negligence after I returned home I caught fever and it was severe,” said Rounaq.
She said, “I was worried about my health and my child, I was so stressed because I thought I contracted this deadly virus and I would die.”
Rounaq was afraid to leave her place again but luckily they had a doctor at home who did her Rapid Antigen Test at home and she got lucky as the test was negative.
“I was a bit relaxed but I had a second thought in my mind that the test might not be correct, so I went for a RT-PCR and the wait killed me. The test reports came negative after 12 days and those 12 days were a nightmare for me,” said Rounaq.
After Rounaq tested negative she was extra careful of the happenings around her.
“I was so fearful about my situation. I was so afraid of getting sick again, so when I was admitted in the hospital, I established certain restrictions at the hospital so that at least people can visit,” said Rounaq.
After delivery Rounaq focused on taking care of her baby as much as she could possibly do.
“I prohibited people to visit my place post-delivery, for the first month I confined my baby to my mother and husband only because they were already in contact with me the whole time,” said Rounaq.
She said she was glad that people understood her situation and didn’t come to meet for at-least a month.
“Taking care of a baby is very difficult, as you don’t want your baby to get any sort of infection, you can’t take them out, you and your baby have to remain confined to four walls of the house which results in anxiety and frustration,” said Rounaq.
According to the research conducted by the University of Oxford it was found that women with Covid were over 50% more likely to experience pregnancy complications - such as premature birth, pre-eclampsia, admission to intensive care and death - compared to pregnant women unaffected by the virus.
Rabiya Imran (27), from Nigeen was pregnant with her first child when she tested positive for Covid-19.
Multiple doctors have worked together to treat her and monitor her pregnancy. After two months Rabiya will be now able to safely deliver her baby.
“I am expecting my first child and my husband and I were very excited about it. My pregnancy was running smoothly as I was following all necessary precautions,” said Rabiya.
In the beginning of May, Rabiya developed a headache. She started to run a slight fever and noticed some body aches. She called her doctor, who said it was probably due to her body experiencing pregnancy changes.
Rabiya said, “I neglected my body-aches and headache but a little over a week later, I had nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.”
Rabiya’s husband took to a nearby health centre to get a test done where she tested positive.
“Whenever I recall that time it makes me cry, especially when I think about the dangerous situation me and my unborn baby were in. It’s still hard to talk about it,” she said.
Rabiya has no idea how she caught Covid-19. She lives in the same home as her husband, mother-in-law and father-in-law, but none of them came down with Covid-19.
“My family watched my progress from a necessary distance, we did not allow visitors during that time, I didn’t even allow my mother to come over,” said Rabiya.
After 18 days Rabiya tested negative and she was eager to focus on her pregnancy.
“We performed an ultrasound right after I tested negative and luckily my baby was safe and healthy,” said Rabiya.
Rabiya said, “She was happy to be out of the worst danger, as recovering from Covid-19 was tough. This disease has broken my body.”
“The doctors told me I was fine, but I still felt afraid and stressed,” said Rabiya.
She said her doctors were wonderful and made her feel protected. I appreciate the doctors communicating with me and explaining what was happening over the phone.
“My experience made me aware of how serious Covid-19 can be,” she said.
Rabiya said, “Do not look at this disease as hearsay, because it’s terrible. I’ve seen people who go out and do not take precautions. I am not a doctor, but I do know that if we end up having to live with Covid-19 in our community. People will have to take care of themselves and their families and stay safe.”
She said that expecting mothers should avoid contact with anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, particularly in closed or confined spaces, avoid physical gatherings with family, and use phones to get in touch with the doctor.