Keeping mothers and newborns safe amidst COVID-19 – Times of India


We are amid a pandemic that mankind has never seen before. Government, doctors, and health experts across the globe are trying to bring this pandemic under control. Meanwhile, despite lockdowns, isolation, and quarantine, life goes on. For would-be mothers and those with newborns, this stress and anxiety are especially huge. Hence, it is crucial to ensure the health and safety of mothers and their little ones who are particularly vulnerable during this health crisis.

How can mothers keep their newborns safe:
• Keep the newborns in one room which has been thoroughly disinfected

• Mother and child must remain indoors and maintain distance from anyone who could be a possible source of infection

• In the case of siblings, they might be carrying the infection while not being sick themselves. It is suggested to keep them away from the infant

• Children younger than five years of age are suggested to not wear masks, hence the mother can wear a medical mask while breastfeeding the baby. She must maintain proper personal hygiene and regularly wash her hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub before feeding
• New mothers should not worry about getting infected with COVID 19. This may cause anxiety which can affect the mother’s health and ability to provide the best possible care for her baby

Simple ways to maintain a mother’s well-being
Women get wrapped up in the pressures of everyday life, which can be exhausting in many aspects, despite their dedication to their daily chores. This stress can go unnoticed, and it can have serious consequences for their health, including their heart health. Specific reasons for stress can be major life transition after conceiving, re-joining work and having tight deadlines, routine work at home and so on.

To take care of themselves they can follow the below tips:
• Get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep

• Engage in 30 minutes of regular physical exercise that they enjoy, like brisk walking on the terrace, meditation, and yoga

• Live a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes a low-fat and low-salt diet witha generous amount of fibre

• Stay hydrated

• Eat nutritious and timely meals

• Get routine medical check-ups via teleconsultations

Stress has been shown to have a negative impact on heart wellbeing. Psychosocial stress, usually resulting from difficulty in coping with challenging environments or high-stress life events may put women at a significantly higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hence it becomes important to pay attention to the heart health as well.

Maintaining the heart health of the mother
Heart disease is often considered to be more of a problem for men due to which women continue to be under diagnosed and undertreated, with respect to cardiovascular diseases. It is crucial to ensure the health and safety of women as heart diseases are the number one cause of fatalities among women. Below are several activities that women can do to take care of their heart during the pandemic:

1. Check your weight and blood pressure
One should know their ideal body weight, blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels, as these are key risk factors for heart disease. If these levels fluctuate, then one must take appropriate measures to bring them down to normal.

2. Consume a heart-friendly diet
A diet to make the heart stronger includes a low-fat intake, regular consumption of vegetables and fruits, avoiding saturated fats, sugary items, and processed food.

3. Know the indicators of heart diseases
One should be aware of the warning signs of a heart ailment like chest pain or heaviness, breathlessness, sweat, dizziness, nausea, pain in the shoulders and back. It is suggested to get an ECG done to understand the cardiac cause.

When to consult a doctor
Most women are avoiding consulting a doctor due to the ongoing pandemic and because of the commonality of the symptoms experienced in heart ailments. However, it is recommended to seek medical assistance immediately if experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain, or irregular heartbeat.

Article by
Dr Preeti Sharma, Principal Consultant and Head of Department-Cardiology, MAX Hospital, Dehradun

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