The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that it continues to provide the service of monitoring the health of pregnant and the newborn child to avoid any complications that might occur.
Of the 70 women admitted to hospitals due to Covid-19, nine patients are in intensive care units. Three critical cases went into premature labor in order to improve their response to treatment in which one case was before the 24-week of pregnancy and the fetus died, and two cases were after 28-week of pregnancy and the premature newborns were admitted to the NICU.
Dr Moza Abdullah al Suliamani, director of gynecology and obstetrics in the Royal Hospital, said out that the probability of a pregnant woman being infected with the Covid-19 is equal to that of the rest of the community. However, the physiological changes, especially on the immune system, that occur in the pregnant woman’s body, may affect her resistance to viral infections in general. The pregnant woman is immunocompromised due to her body’s attempt to adapt and accept the existence of the fetus inside her.
The pregnant is expected to suffer from mild to moderate symptoms, nonetheless, because of the increase in the size of the uterus during the advanced stage of pregnancy that causes pressure on the chest and the lungs, may affect the interaction of the body if the inflammation of the lung occurs.
She added that most Covid-19 admissions for pregnant were mild, mothers have recovered and no neonatal deaths were recorded till now.
Dr. Al Suliamani pointed out that most Covid-19 admissions at the Royal Hospital were that of high-risk pregnancy where they got infected from the husband or one of the family members. In pregnant women, the effect of deteriorating maternal health and complications will be on the mother and the fetus.
The increase in cases brings pressure on the hospital’s beds and the medical staff, the RH’s gynecology & obstetrics Director stated, adding that it led to the restructuring of department and postponement of operations and appointments. Some cases which have been postponed experienced complications and underwent surgery as urgent cases.
Covid-19 infection among medical staff caused further an increasing burden on work, however, the work continues and no unit has been closed, as pregnancy services are essential, she affirmed.
Dr. AL Suliamani outlined that unfortunately, the department faces some challenges one of them is that some pregnant women refrain from telling the medical staff if one of their family members is infected before being admitted or contacting other patients and personnel. Hence, they are all urged to report to the staff any case of Covid-19 in their family, or if she was infected or showing Covid-19 symptoms for her safety and to avoid infection transmission to others.
Little is known about the impact of the virus on the health of pregnant in particular and her fetus in general, therefore, the Ministry stressed the importance of adhering to the preventive measures in order to reduce the chances of virus exposure and infection. The MOH has advised pregnant to continue regular follow up in the health institutions where all protection means are provided when visiting the institution.
pregnant women should adhere to the known general preventive procedures to avoid virus infection, and take extra precaution when caring for the child, especially during changing diapers, as well as staying away from crowded places. Moreover, she should seek the nearest health institution for the necessary checks when having the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat or diarrhea. She should also eat healthy food and stay away from psychological stress.
It is worth noting that the regular visits to the pregnant clinic are still ongoing so that the pregnant is assured of her health and the health of the fetus. The pregnant should seek a health institution when feeling the warning symptoms. A number of measures have been taken to facilitate and speed up the visit of pregnant women to primary health care institutions to reduce the stay period.
On the health and treatment procedures in case of incidence, a national guideline has been issued in cooperation with the Royal Hospital to deal with infected pregnant women. If a pregnant woman is diagnosed with COVID-19, a specialized team will follow up and monitor her health in addition to providing her with a number to contact the health institution before attending it. Home or institutional isolation will be determined according to her health and social status.
Any other healthy family member must take care of her infants. If she is under home isolation, it is necessary to follow the precautions to avoid transmitting the infection among her family members.
In addition, the infected woman must follow up in the obstetrics and gynecology clinic and notify the institution ahead to receive her in a way that avoids her contact with other patients. If she experiences pregnancy complications (severe headache, blurred vision, swelling in the body, vaginal bleeding) or when childbirth pain occurs, she must call before coming to the health institution. It is advisable to head to the referral hospitals in her respective Governorate for delivery.
Psychological support has been provided for those suffering from the anxiety associated with this pandemic. The woman, being largely responsible for caring for her family, may need support to mitigate psychosocial stresses that affect her nutrition and make her more vulnerable to complications during pregnancy. Therefore, she can seek this service through Al Masarrah line (24873760), or on the hotline of ( We with You) campaign at 99359779 or via social media account of Whispers of Serenity clinic (@serenitymuscat). The Ministry’s Contact Center further offered a nurse to reply to the women related inquiries.
Currently, there is limited data that define the possibility of Covid-19 transmission from infected pregnant women to their fetuses or the impact on them.