Antenatal – care for pregnant women in the New Normal

Dr. Tanuja

MD, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Aster Prime Hospital, Hyderabad, India

As per the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are at increased risk of contracting the disease. In some cases, it can lead to adverse outcomes for the mother or the child. Hence proper care has to be taken to ensure proper antenatal care is availed with added precautions.

If you are pregnant the following measures will help:

  • Continue to follow all measures of social distancing, handwashing, cleaning and disinfection
  • Wear a mask when stepping out. Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Check: Building immunity through nutrition: Pregnant women
  • Do not skip or postpone your prenatal care appointments. Speak to your care provider. They should be able to update you on the safety measures taken.
  • Avail virtual consultation, telemedicine facility to stay connected with your doctor. Aster e-Consult in India, Medcare online consultation or Aster Clinics Telemedicine should be able to help in UAE.
  • Take virtual ante-natal classes. Medcare runs virtual ante-natal classes for expectant mothers, conducted by their medical experts. There are upcoming classes on 11th & 25th June, 9th & 30th July and 13th & 27th August.

How can healthcare providers ensure safe care?

1. For all pregnant women detailed medical history to be noted in every visit.

  1. Detailed travel history
  2. History of exposure to people with symptoms of COVID – 19
  3. Symptoms of COVID – 19
  4. Coming from hot spot area
  5. Immune compromised condition

2. Do not delay obstetric management in order to test for COVID – 19

3. Elective procedures like induction of labour for indications that are not strictly necessary, routine growth scans, routine investigations should be reduced to minimum at discretion of care provider

4. If ultrasound equipment is used it should be decontaminated after use.

5. Expectant mothers should able be to attend routine antenatal care factored to minimum at the discretion of maternal care provider at 12, 20, 28 and 36 months of gestation unless they meet isolation criteria.

6. Maternity clinics can be run effectively using telephonic or video consultations instead of face to face encounters.

7. For low risk pregnancy, the following is recommended

  1. Video consultation.
  2. Minimum of six antenatal contacts in total.
  3. Wherever possible scans and antenatal appointments and other investigations should be provided within a single visit involving as few staff as possible.
  4. At all video consultations women should be asued about well being and, if in third trimester-fetal movements.
  5. Consider scheduling the post dates appointment on a day where induction of labour can be commenced.