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COVID-Positive Mothers Should Continue Breastfeeding, Maintain Physical Distancing With Baby Rest Of The Time

According to Dr Manju Puri, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, pregnant women must take all possible precautions to prevent the infection as COVID-19 can affect her and her child in many other ways

COVID-Positive Mothers Should Continue Breastfeeding, Maintain Physical Distancing With Baby Rest Of The Time
  • Covid negative caregiver can help in taking care of the newborn: Expert
  • Covid positive mothers should sanitise her surroundings regularly: Expert
  • The mother and the child should stay in a well-ventilated room: Expert

New Delhi: A COVID-19 positive mother should continue to breastfeed her baby but is advised to keep the infant at a distance of six feet from her the rest of the time, a senior doctor has said. Dr Manju Puri, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, also said there is no evidence to support the concerns about the foetus contracting COVID-19 from the mother, but stressed that pregnant women must take all possible precautions to prevent the infection.

Also Read: Good Samaritan Compiles List Of Breast Milk Donors For Infants Who Lost Mothers To COVID-19

Addressing the issue of vaccine hesitancy, she asserted that the COVID-19 vaccines do not have any adverse effect on reproductive organs or fertility. Puri talked about the recent decision to administer COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and what precautions a COVID positive mother should take to protect her newborn.

A mother should continue to breastfeed the baby but is advised to keep the baby at a distance of six feet from her when she is not breastfeeding, Dr Puri was quoted as saying in a health ministry statement.

A caregiver who is tested negative can also help in taking care of the newborn. Before breastfeeding the newborn, she should wash her hands, wear protective gear such as a mask, face shield. She should also sanitise her surroundings frequently.

If there is no one else to take care of the child, a mother should wear a mask all the time, and maintain physical distance from the child as much as possible. The mother and the child should stay in a well-ventilated room. And she should regularly wash her hands and sanitise the surroundings, Dr Puri said.

On the possibility of the foetus contracting the infection, she cited studies conducted in this regard.

We have done a couple of studies and found that the placenta, an organ that is formed in the uterus in which a foetus grows, acts as a protective barrier. There are a few cases where the newborns were found infected but we are not sure whether those babies got the infection inside the mother’s womb or soon after the birth. Having said that, as I have explained that pregnant women must take all possible precautions to prevent the infection as COVID-19 can affect her and her child in many other ways, Dr Puri was quoted as saying in a health ministry statement.

On how COVID-19 vaccines can help pregnant women, Dr Puri said during the second wave, more women contracted COVID-19 during pregnancy compared to the first wave.

Also Read: Women Empowering Women: Here’s How Jeevika Initiative Changed The Life Of Bihar’s Pawan Rekha Devi And Her Family

If severe, the infection can lead to serious complications during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester as the uterus is enlarged and presses on the diaphragm, compromising a woman’s ability to cope with a fall in oxygen saturation, she said.

This may lead to a sudden fall in blood oxygen saturation and risk the lives of both the mother and the child, she said. Dr Puri stressed the need for vaccination, saying it will help prevent severe diseases in pregnant women.

Also, vaccinating a mother is likely to give some degree of protection to the newborn as the antibodies developed in the mother’s body post-vaccination will pass on to the developing foetus through her blood. In the case of lactating mothers, an infant gets these antibodies through the mother’s breast milk, Dr Puri said.

About the fears of the possible effect of the vaccines on fertility, Dr Puri said,

These are rumours that get circulated on ubiquitous social media. Misinformation is far more dangerous than the virus itself.

Though the COVID-19 vaccines are relatively new, these have been developed using time-tested techniques, she said.

Vaccines help the body develop immunity against a specific pathogen, it does not affect any other body tissue. In fact, we give some vaccines such as hepatitis B, Influenza, pertussis vaccine to women even during pregnancy to protect them and their unborn child from various diseases, she said.

Besides, regulators have approved the administration of the vaccines during pregnancy only after they were confident of their safety, she said.

There is no scientific data or studies that show that vaccines can cause infertility. These vaccines do not affect the reproductive organs in any way, she said.

Dr Puri said that while pregnancy and childbirth are social events in Indian society, expectant mothers should take adequate precautions, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing even at home.

It is because she may not be going out, but her family members could be going out for work and she can contract the infection from them. So, women should use all COVID precautions during pregnancy, and after childbirth, as it can prevent them from catching the infection and related complications, she said.

On what a pregnant woman should do if she shows symptoms of Covid-19, Puri said, first, if they have any symptoms of COVID, they should get themselves tested at the earliest, “as the sooner we diagnose, the better we can manage the disease”. The management of COVID-19 is almost the same during the pregnancy as it is for others, but it should be done only under the strict supervision of a doctor, she said.

A woman should isolate herself, drink plenty of fluids, check her temperature and oxygen saturation every 4-6 hrs. If the temperature does not come down even after taking paracetamol, she needs to contact the doctor. If there is a fall in oxygen concentration or if there is a decreasing trend for example if it is 98 in the morning 97 in the evening, and then drops further the next day, she needs to get in touch with her doctor, Dr Puri said.

Besides, women who have associated illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, etc, need to be more careful, as they may need hospitalisation.

Also Read: Why Breastfed Babies Have Improved Immune Systems? Research Reveals

So, consult your doctor and keep in touch with your doctor throughout the recovery period. We strongly recommend an overall health check-up post-COVID recovery to ensure that the mother and the foetus are doing fine, she said.

The doctor further said there is an increase in mental health problems among women during pregnancy and post-childbirth. These are times when a woman undergoes a lot of hormonal and physiological changes. She has poor coping skills and needs social support. In the absence of this social support, she can feel lonely, helpless, and depressed. Isolation for 15 days is difficult for everyone, but more so for pregnant women and postnatal mothers. During this time, the additional anxiety about her child’s health can severely affect her mental status.

So, it is important to provide constant support and assurance to women during this time. The family should stay in touch through video calls, and observe any change in her mood and seek medical help if she looks and feels depressed. Asked about the main advice to women patients, Dr Puri said,

We ask them to stay safe, take adequate precautions and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. Take vaccine as and when it is available to them. Avoid meeting many people. If they have symptoms suggestive of COVID such as fever, sore throat, loss of taste or smell or exposure to a COVID-positive person they need to seek medical help immediately, should not delay the diagnosis and should not self-treat. And lastly, we also counsel all our pregnant women about various contraceptive methods during pregnancy and offer them postpartum Intra-Uterine Device (Cu T), which can be inserted immediately after childbirth or caesarean delivery. It saves them of an unnecessary visit to the hospital after childbirth and reduces the risk of an unplanned pregnancy, Dr Puri stated.

Also Read: Opinion: Nutrition Is An Issue Of National Interest And Deserves Prioritisation Beyond The Central Level

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.


3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70


45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214


29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13


West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14


14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18



10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5


10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26



9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4



8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14


Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14



7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20



7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15



6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1


6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2


5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6


3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4



3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2


1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2


1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46



1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3


83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44



82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5


79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1


65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4


Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1


31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70



30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3


20,743 6

144 6



Dadra And Nagar Haveli


0 0




10,360 1

9 1



Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3


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