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Expert Blog: COVID Hit Pregnant And Breastfeeding Mothers And Vaccination For Them

World Breastfeeding Week 2021: WHO recommends that mothers should continue to breastfeed after the vaccination as none of the current vaccines in use is excreted into breastmilk

Expert Blog: COVID Hit Pregnant And Breastfeeding Mothers And Vaccination For Them

To begin with, let’s address the most common question – can lactating mothers who are recovering from COVID-19 continue breastfeeding? For SARS-COV-2, the detection of Viral RNA in breastmilk from the infected mother appears to be uncommon. Moreover, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 via breastmilk has not been established. So, the risk of the newborn getting COVID-19 from the mother is low if she follows the safety protocols. Hence, lactating mothers recovering from COVID-19 can continue to breastfeed. The mothers should however maintain a distance of six feet between themselves and others, wear a mask at all times, practise hand hygiene and avoid coughing into her chest.

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

Early exclusive breastfeeding and kangaroo care (skin to skin contact of the baby with parents, especially the mother) promotes mother-infant proximity which is the most effective way of protecting the newborns. Breastfeeding is essential to optimise an infant’s health. Breastfeeding produces anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial responses, which protects the newborn from various infections and also enhances immunity by directly transferring antibodies from the mother.

Breastmilk has an irreplaceable nutritional value that helps to optimise healthy growth, brain development, intelligence and other developmental outcomes in a child. If the clinical condition of the mother warrants temporary separation from the infant, then the mother can give expressed milk to the infant. Expressing milk helps in establishing and maintaining a proper milk supply from the breast.

A check-up post-COVID recovery is essential to ensure the well-being of the mother and the baby.

Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week 2021: Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Mothers and Babies

Can Women Continue Breastfeeding Immediately After Vaccination?

Vaccination is not an indication to discontinue breastfeeding at any point. WHO recommends that mothers should continue to breastfeed after the vaccination as none of the current vaccines in use is excreted into breastmilk. There is mounting evidence that the breast milk of the vaccinated mother carries antibodies against the Novel Coronavirus. One recent study has detected IgA (Immunoglobulin A) and IgG (Immunoglobulin G) antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in breastmilk till six weeks after the vaccination. It also found neutralising effects in the immune proteins suggesting protection for infants from the COVID-19 disease. Summing up, COVID-19 vaccines offer real benefits for protecting both mother and child.

Also Read: What Is Important For Breastfeeding Mothers In Times Of COVID-19? Dr Shariqua Yunus Of World Food Programme Explains

Can Pregnant Women Take COVID-19 Vaccine?

Based on the recommendations of NTAGI ( National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation), vaccination has been approved for pregnant women with the condition that they are informed about the risk of exposure of COVID-19 along with risks and benefits associated with COVID-19 vaccines available in the country.

The intent is to weigh the risks versus benefits on an individual basis and offer the choice to the pregnant woman to make an informed decision about taking the vaccination provided there are no contraindications.

Experts are of the view that the benefits of vaccination to pregnant women outweigh the potential risks.

Also Read: Why Breastfeeding Is Important And A Must For Women

Without The Vaccine, Is There A Risk Of Getting COVID-19 Disease?

Pregnancy does not increase the risk of COVID-19 infection, but the current evidence suggests that pregnant women are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as compared to non-pregnant women. Many pregnant women get a mild infection. More than 90 per cent recover without the need for hospitalisation but rapid deterioration may occur in a few. Symptomatic pregnant women appear to be at an increased risk of severe disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes including admission to the ICU, preterm births, pre-eclampsia like symptoms, caesarean sections and rarely death. This is consequent to the pregnant uterus pressing upon the diaphragm and compromising the woman’s ability to cope with low oxygen saturation levels thus endangering the lives of the mother as well as the foetus.

Also Read: COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout In Women, Pregnant & Lactating Mothers, An Expert Explains

Pregnant women who are at increased risk of developing complications include those with pre-existing diseases, advanced maternal age and high body-mass index (BMI). The severity of COVID-19 infection is enhanced in those with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, organ transplant recipients, chronic respiratory diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, and others. Also, women on immunosuppressants, on dialysis and those who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk. So, pregnant women must take all precautions to protect themselves from acquiring COVID-19 infection and get vaccinated against it.

The vaccines are safe and protect pregnant women against disease and its severe complications. The COVID-19 vaccine can be taken anytime during the pregnancy. All women under 50 years including pregnant women can take the vaccine. The few contraindications for vaccination during pregnancy include the history of allergy to vaccines, food items or medications or an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Temporary contraindications during pregnancy are:

  • If diagnosed COVID-19 positive, the vaccination has to be deferred by 12 weeks from the infection or four to eight weeks from recovery;
  • Active COVID-19 infection;
  • COVID-19 infection treated by plasma therapy.

Also Read: COVID-19: Pregnant And Thinking Of Getting Vaccinated? Here’s What Government Guidelines Say About Safety, Side-Effects

(Dr. Loveleena Nadir is a Senior Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Fortis La femme.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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

World

22,95,44,435Cases
19,20,52,504Active
3,27,83,741Recovered
47,08,190Deaths
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.

India

3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,01,9897,586Active
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
Maharashtra

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70

Kerala

45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214

Karnataka

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

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14

Delhi

14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18

25,085

Odisha

10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14

10,517

Haryana

7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20

9,808

Bihar

7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15

9,659

Telangana

6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1

Punjab

6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2

Assam

5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6

Jharkhand

3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4

5,133

Uttarakhand

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

Goa

1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2

Puducherry

1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46

1,832

Manipur

1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3

Tripura

83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44

809

Mizoram

82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5

Meghalaya

79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1

Chandigarh

65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1

Sikkim

31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70

380

Nagaland

30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3

Ladakh

20,743 6

144 6

20,392

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,360 1

9 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3

129

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