The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19, (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) has taken us all by a storm. The situation is worsening every day. Medical practitioners and clinicians are working round-the-clock to fight against this pandemic with vaccines to yield the efficacy and halt this pandemic at the earliest possible. However, this virus has infected over millions of people across the world and has caused over million deaths.
Pregnancy is one of the most joyful but equally challenging time in a woman’s life. Each pregnancy is unique and so is its set of challenges and uncertainties. However, and for mums-to-be bringing a new life in the midst of the global pandemic will understandably fuel up the stress and anxiety to a whole new level altogether. The health and the well-being of her unborn baby, being her primary focus, during her pregnancy.
In fact, pregnant women in this covid situation with the new Omicron variant in place will have several questions in their mind.
Are Would-be-moms At Higher Risk Of COVID-19?
Basically, the changing hormones in a pregnant woman, not just takes a toll upon a would-be-mom’s body and mind, but even decreases her level of immunity to fight this perilous disease.
Apart from the hormonal fluctuations, factors like:
- pre-existing health conditions (like Chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, Mental health disorders, chronic kidney disease (CKD), cystic fibrosis, diabetes, hypertension, etc),
- maternal age (being older than 25 years old), or
- being in a place where it is not possible to maintain social distancing make pregnant women more susceptible to Covid-19
Moreover, severely ill pregnant women with Covid, may need to be hospitalised, in the intensive care, and under ventilator (for breathing).
Does Covid Affect the Baby In The Womb?
When the babies grow in their mothers’ womb, the placenta acts as a protective shield between the mother and baby. The placenta helps in passing the antibodies to the growing baby and blocks the transmission of any disease. The Covid-19 virus may pass to the foetus during pregnancy, but it is unlikely that it can cause a problem in the baby’s health and development before the baby’s birth.
However, some reports on Covid in pregnancy do claim that there is an increased risk of pre-term birth and stillbirth.
Is Covid Vaccination Necessary For Pregnant Women?
It is important that precautions are taken during pregnancy to keep the would-be-mom safe from contracting the Covid-19 virus. Based on the recommendations from National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), vaccination has been approved for pregnant women against Covid-19. Pregnant women in India will be able to take Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V as authorised by Indian Government. Moreover, they can get vaccinated at any time during pregnancy. In this case, they should be made aware of the risks of contracting the virus and the benefits of receiving the vaccines. As far as the benefits of vaccines are concerned, according to WHO, these vaccines can protect pregnant women against the potential pregnancy risks.
What Is Covid 19 Omicron Variant?
At the wake of early vaccination trials and several conflicting thoughts about it, a large number of pregnant women steered clear of the shots, thus being exposed to the fast-spreading Omicron Virus. The severity of the illness that Omicron causes are still not known. Extensive research on Omicron symptoms is still underway. However, since the increase in transmissibility can lead to hospitalisations and deaths, WHO warns that it should not be treated as “mild”. As Covid 19 Omicron Variant can impact the immunity of a person.
Now, pregnant women may be worried about dangers associated with this new variant. Since studies are still going on to prove the pregnancy risks caused by the Omicron virus, it would always be a good idea to take the vaccines and booster doses to keep both the mother and the baby safe.
Moreover, to protect the spread of the virus it is important to practice the Covid appropriate behaviour like:
- Wearing double mask
- Washing hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water and
- Maintaining physical distance
Is It Safe To Bank The Stem Cells During COVID-19?
The umbilical cord is responsible for nurturing the growing foetus by passing the all-essential nutrients and oxygen. However, it is surprising that, even if the mother is found to be Covid- positive, the umbilical cord tests negative.
There are also several critical diseases and conditions (may or may not be similar to COVID-19), which have no cure, that can be treated with cord blood , like cancer, osteoarthritis and more. As cord blood is packed with blood-forming stem cells which has the capacity to differentiate into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Therefore, Umbilical cord blood banking even during Covid-19 allows parents to gain access to cutting-edge treatments for themselves and their family’s healthy future.
Moreover, since the cord blood banks maintain the highest quality standards as far as the laboratory processes are concerned, therefore the essential cord blood banking services from cord blood collection to cryopreservation tends to remain unaltered even during this pandemic situation.