Pregnant during pandemic: What expectant mothers need to know | Inquirer Lifestyle
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A new study has linked working night shift while pregnant to an increased risk of miscarriage. Image: pascalgenest / via AFP Relaxnews

Pregnant during pandemic: What expectant mothers need to know

JAKARTA — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to spend more time at home, limiting couples’ access to birth control. As a result, Indonesia is expecting to see a COVID-fueled baby boom next year.

Whether it’s planned or unplanned, the journey of becoming a mother is not a walk in the park, especially in the time of COVID-19.

According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), expectant mothers might be at an increased risk of COVID-19. Pregnant women with COVID-19 are said to also have an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth.

Obstetrician-gynecologist Jesurun Bangun Daud Hutabarat from medical clinic chain ZAP Premier in Medan, North Sumatra, has a different view, though. He said it was fine to get pregnant during the pandemic as long as the pregnancy is properly maintained.

For those trying to conceive, Jesurun recommended a preconception checkup, which would help them discover various health issues, including the mother’s nutritional and medical status.

“Couples can also go for a rapid test,” he said during a virtual media gathering hosted by ZAP.

Jesurun encouraged couples to avoid rushing to have children.

“If you feel that your body is not ready [to carry a baby], don’t get pregnant now.”

As for pregnant women, Jesurun emphasized the importance of prenatal medical checkups, saying they help expecting parents to check the stages of the pregnancy.

Prenatal visits usually include 2D, 3D or 4D ultrasound scans, which check the baby’s organ development as well as help determine the placenta position and the amniotic sac’s condition.

Furthermore, pregnant women are recommended to take vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid and iron supplements.

“Prepare your vitamins and medicines for one month. Therefore, you don’t need to go out often,” he said, adding that pregnant women need to follow health and safety protocols, such as practicing physical distancing, washing their hands frequently and wearing face masks when going outside.

Moreover, expectant mothers are suggested to keep their stress levels low to prevent problems for the baby, such as premature birth and low-birth weight.

“There are protocols for births during the pandemic,” he said, adding that expecting mothers would need to do rapid tests followed by swab tests if there was a risk of contracting COVID-19.