The coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of ending. Every day, there is another country that reports a skyrocketing number of cases. The death toll and the number of confirmed cases keep on increasing. And every day, another scary effect of the virus comes to light.
This time, it concerns pregnant women.
HOW ARE PREGNANT WOMEN BEING AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS?
“Facilities should consider temporarily separating the mother who has confirmed COVID-19 or is a PUI (person under investigation) from her baby until the mother’s transmission-based precautions are discontinued.”
Mothers who have been infected with COVID-19 or have been exposed to their illness might be separated from their newborns.
This has been recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians. The recommended amount of time for the separation is a week. However, it varies from 72 hours to 14 days, depending on time since symptoms and recovery.
However, this is not a decision that can be made solely by the doctors. According to the CDC’s recommendation, the mother should be made aware of the risks and benefits of separation. The doctors can recommend separation, however, the final decision rests with the mother.
Separating the newborn from the mother might reduce the chance of the child being infected, but it poses other problems.
“It would be heartbreaking. You’re establishing your schedule in those first couple of weeks and bonding with the baby. So, I can’t imagine that aspect being taken away,” said Jessica Powell. Powell is expecting her fourth child in August.
The first few weeks and months are integral in the bonding experience of a mother and child. The lack of attachment during this time can lead to severe consequences for both of them.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS THAT CAN ARISE BECAUSE OF SEPARATION AT BIRTH?
For mothers, it can lead to problems with breastfeeding.
Mothers who do not breastfeed in the first hours and days after birth have a hard time doing it long term.
Even though using breast pumps to feed the child breast milk is an option, it lacks the benefits of breastfeeding.
Rebecca H. McCormick, the president of La Leche League USA, a pro-breastfeeding non-profit, said –
“The presence of the nursing parents is just as important as their milk. When a baby is able to attach to a caregiver, they have better mental health and emotional health long-term.”
Moreover, separation can cause problems for the child as well.
A study conducted on babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) showed that early separation can lead to PTSD in children.