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Impact of COVID-19 on Pregnant Women

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12 Aug 2021

Most People infected with COVID-19 virus experienced mild to moderate respiratory illness & recover without requiring special treatment. On the other hand, Pregnant Women get placed in the vulnerable category as a precaution during Covid-19 pandemic. As per the new research findings, pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19 compared to non-pregnant women. Various cohort studies have reported the cases of mental disorders such as depression & anxiety during perinatal period compared to periods of non-pregnancy in low and middle income countries. A longitudinal study conducted in China between May 1 & July 31, 2020 on long term impact of Covid-19 in pregnancy on mother’s psychological disorder and infant’s developmental delay. There were total 72 pregnant women participated in the study out of which 13 cases were infected with covid-19 in the first trimester, 6 cases in second & 53 cases in third trimester. However, study results shows that all those pregnant women who got infected in the first trimester & one third of those infected in the second trimester had an abortion without any maternal indication. It further states that only COVID -19 is not an indication for abortion whereas other obstetric factors are also responsible for terminating pregnancy and no evidence of mother to child transmission of the virus has been found.

Several other studies have conducted across the world to understand the impact of COVID-19 on mental health of pregnant women. After extensive research, researchers have realized that mental health difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic are known to have both short and long term consequences for pregnant women and their offspring’s. Researchers also highlights that pregnant women are experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression during pandemic as compared to before pandemic due to secondary effects of covid-19. Secondary effects of the pandemic such as financial difficulties, social isolation, relationship difficulties and health concerns have contributed to the symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia disorder among pregnant women as these symptoms can increase the risk of miscarriage and preterm birth. Hence, Research studies have concluded that it is crucial to address mental health and COVID related risk factors during pregnancy to avoid adverse impact on health of pregnant women and their unborn children. In addition to prevent neonatal infection risk, Social support acts as a shield for pregnant women experiencing mental health symptoms during pandemic. Researchers and healthcare providers should pay more attention to careful monitoring of mother and fetus, maternal mental health and early child development. Therefore, there is a need for more high quality research studies to follow up and evaluate the long term effects of outbreak of COVID-19 on mother and their fetus health.

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Ritika Singh

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