Coronavirus pandemic: Delivering healthy babies through IVF amid COVID-19

Published: May 11, 2020 2:08 PM

While it is imperative to say that IVF procedure requires special care and attention during the process and once after conception, pregnancy is just as precautious as normal conception.

IVF, Pregnancy IVF, Coronavirus, Covid19, indira ivfThere is no need to panic for those conceived through IVF, motherhood is the most precious gift for such women.

By Dr. Arvind Vaid

With various myths and misconceptions surrounding women opting or opted for IVF treatment, the current COVID-19 pandemic situation has added to it. Many also have a notion that women trying to conceive either naturally or through ART/ IVF technique, are slightly at an increased risk of infection pertaining to their lower immunity.

But for those who have waited for a long time to be gifted with motherhood, recently underwent oocyte retrieval and embryo implantation are also worried about how to undergo follow ups, will it be safe to make visit to the IVF clinics, does getting pregnant during the Corona pandemic will have ill effects on the developing fetus and many such questions that may puzzle their mind.

Delivering Healthy through IVF amid COVID

While it is imperative to say that IVF procedure requires special care and attention during the process and once after conception, pregnancy is just as precautious as normal conception. And hence there is no need to panic for those conceived through IVF, motherhood is the most precious gift for such women.

1. No placental Transfer – Though until now there are no proven placental transfers, but there are chances for a pregnant woman to pass on the disease to the new born. Just like in any other case of transfer, due to the close vicinity of the mother delivering the baby may be a reason, but no proven results are yet established for placental transfer.

2. No ill effect on fetus – Adding to the fact that this novel corona virus being new to the humankind, its effect on overall health, pregnancy and developing fetus are not yet studied, but until now no data is evidence for miscarriage, preterm births or baby born with congenital defects.

3. Online Consultations/ Tele-consultation – Many may fear the, absence of a follow up during this situation but the current ongoing COVID 19 pandemic has changed the way for everyone and gynecologists are managing the antenatal care during pregnancy through online video consultations in order to limit the exposure to outside world, at the same time it is essential to follow the safety and preventive measures until delivery.

4. Hygienic clinic ambience – There may be time and situation of emergency and may have to make a visit to the clinic either for routine checkups involving ultrasounds and other normal tests which are essential, one must not fear about the ambience in the clinics. Special attention is being provided to the cleanliness, and hygiene in accordance with the guidelines of the Government and hence making any number of visits to our clinics is healthy and safer.

Homebound precautions during lockdown

While it is known that it is not at all safe to step outside even for basic and routine exercises, walking etc, pregnant women should take care of their health at home. There may be various other questions puzzling everyone of those who have recently conceived, but taking care of the following precautions will definitely benefit the complete course of pregnancy even after the pandemic is over.

Preventions:

1) Keep your weight in check – Hormonal changes during pregnancy, in addition to the lockdown, can cause food cravings, emotional eating due to mood swings, and ultimately lead to weight gain. Putting on excess weight leads to obesity, that triggers insulin resistance leading to various complications. It is thus advised to keep your weight in tact which will have various benefits during pregnancy. No single specific dietary approach is best, but losing weight by reducing total calorie intake can benefit the overall health.

2) Consider dietary changes – Don’t severely restrict carbohydrates; instead, choose complex carbohydrates, which are high in fiber. The doctor will also provide you with a customized healthy diet according to your trimester that suits you the best. Avoid your craving for processed food, junk food, and food that are high in calorie and fat, instead focus on fruits and vegetables that are easily digestible. Ensure intake of natural sources of Vitamins and minerals, unless supplements are recommended.

3) Stay Active – Mild exercise keeps the blood circulation and regulates blood pressure and glucose levels which are bound to fluctuate during pregnancy. Apart from exercise, taking part in regular household chores (without much stress) also helps in preventing weight gain and keeping a healthy mind.

(The author is Gynecologist and IVF Expert, Indira IVF Hospital, New Delhi. Views expressed are personal.)

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