The Ministry of Health (MoH) has said that the risk of pregnant women contracting the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is similar to that of others.
‘However, the physiological changes during pregnancy can alter body response to the infection. Scientific studies on the virus’ impact on the health of women and children are still few, so the risks to pregnant women in particular and their foetus in general cannot be underestimated,’ MoH said in an emailed statement.
MoH stated it is committed to providing health and therapeutic care to women, especially pregnant women. ‘We are working to create community awareness about the virus and protection measures which have been deployed in collaboration with The Royal Hospital.’
MoH said that all pregnant women must attend their follow-ups regularly in health institutions, where all preventive measures have been taken. ‘If a pregnant woman develops any warning symptoms (such as shortness of breath, severe headache, convulsion, vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, leaking from vagina, face/leg oedema, or leg pain), she should immediately visit the nearest health institution.’
It said that if a pregnant woman is diagnosed with COVID-19, she will be subjected to home or institutional isolation based on her health status and social condition.
‘She will be followed up by a specialised team to monitor her health condition. She will be provided with a contact number to get in touch with the health institution. If she has children, she should ask for support from any healthy family member to take care of them. In case of home isolation, she must follow the precautions,’ it said.
With regards to mode of delivery of infected pregnant woman, MoH said, ‘Her condition will be evaluated by a team of specialists (obstetrics and gynaecologists, internal diseases, anaesthesia) taking into account her medical history. If her health condition requires the termination of pregnancy, the necessary measures will be taken.’
MoH said that it is very important to pay attention to the psychological effects on women’s health in view of the rapid spread of the virus. ‘They may need support to handle psychological pressures which may affect their nutrition and make them more vulnerable to complications during pregnancy. Therefore, consultations through hotlines are now available.’
Women can call Al Masarra Hospital at 24873760 and the hotline of the ‘We are with you’ campaign, available on the social media account of Whispers of Serenity Clinic @ serenitymuscat, or 99359779.
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