Attributing to hormonal changes, pregnancy itself takes a toll on the woman’s mental health, causing stress anxiety, depression, anger, mood swings, and during this phase it is quite important to take care of health.
By Dr. Sagarika Aggarwal
Amidst the COVID 19 pandemic the whole Nation is under lockdown, and looking at the current situation of increasing cases, the situation is likely to continue. While most of the professionals have been instructed to work from home, devoid of a workplace ambience can also lead to depression and anxiety. Similar does the case or even worse for couples want to be blessed with parenthood but unable to retrieve IVF treatment.
While novel corona virus (n-COVID19) has equal potentials to penetrate and spread irrespective of gender and age, many have a notion that women trying to conceive (naturally or through ART) are slightly at an increased risk of infection pertaining to their lower immunity. Attributing to this, a majority of the couples who were planning to undergo IVF treatment have postponed their consultations while others have delayed their dates of embryo transfer until the pandemic situation comes back to normalcy.
While infertility is still believed to be a social stigma in various parts of the society, and the ‘wait-on’ addition to their misery, which precisely is the problem faced by many women seeking IVF treatment. It is known that special attention and care is required for carrying out the procedure and with the need to make regular visits to the clinic may expose the mother-to be at an increased risk of COVID -19 infection.
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A wait worth the delayed conception
While this may be a very upsetting, heart wrenching and mentally draining situation, and many might be on the verge of the end of their reproductive age (Menopause), waiting and wanting to enjoy motherhood, might be making a last attempt to complete their dream of becoming a mother. Many women are also awaiting an embryo transplant or oocyte retrieval stage which still will be elongated amid the infection threat. They have already waited too long to gain access to artificial methods of pregnancy, and right now, COVID-19 is putting their dreams back on ice.
Attributing to hormonal changes, pregnancy itself takes a toll on the woman’s mental health, causing stress anxiety, depression, anger, mood swings, and during this phase it is quite important to take care of health. Women undergoing IVF treatment or pregnant need to stay positive and there needs to be a balance maintained for emotional well being.
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.
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.
There has not been any guidelines issued regarding the restrictions on any type of ongoing fertility treatments, but is currently a voluntary choice. However in order to prevent exposure of the mother and fetus to infections, as multiple visits and special care is required. 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. Even though Pre-natal and antenatal care can be opted for, but at an elevated risk, it is advised to the couples to plan the pregnancies such that it is beneficial for one and all.
(The author is Gynaecologist and IVF Expert at Indira IVF Hospital, New Delhi. Views expressed are personal.)