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Millennium Post

Healthcare crashing around her, a woman waits to go into labour

Healthcare crashing around her,  a woman waits to go into labour
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New Delhi: As the Capital descends into chaos every day with patients, their kin, doctors, government, opposition, volunteers and good samaritans either busy looking for a hospital bed or for oxygen, 33-year-old Angela wakes up every day uncertain where her first child will be born.

She is due for delivery on May 20.

"In February my doctor told me to not rush and pre-book a room, she also kept assuring me that everything is fine, however, now she has told me that if I become positive (for Covid), she won't be able to deliver my baby," Angela told Millennium Post over the phone, the anxiety in her voice clear.

The new variants of the Coronavirus that are currently rapidly tearing through the Capital have been observed to be more severe for women and even more so for pregnant women, according to medical experts.

A business owner living in South Delhi, Angela is not yet sure whether a hospital bed will be available for her and her child whenever the time comes.

"I won't lie, but this has been a really difficult time merely because of how this virus has been affecting people. I have also seen my doctors changing over the course of time," she said.

She also said that doctors have been telling her about the risks for both the baby and mother under these circumstances. "Half my family or known people are positive, my husband and I have shifted out, at a different place for the time being," she said, adding that she would still prefer to have the baby in a hospital over anywhere else.

"Though the hospital I have booked is not a big multi-specialty. I am going for a small hospital," she added.

But as the stress of delivering a child amid the spectacularly devastating collapse of the healthcare system catches up to hundreds waiting to have their children in the next few months, doctors and specialists are increasingly recommending pre-term deliveries.

"We doctors are recommending women to get the delivery a little early. The pressure on the lungs due to pregnancy is already high but in such a situation pre-term deliveries are being recommended," Dr Akta Bajaj, Senior Consultant and head-Obstetrics and Gynecology at Ujala Cygnus Hospital said.

Dr Shivani Sabharwal, Gynecologist and senior consultant at Apollo Spectra Hospital also said that pregnant women are more likely to develop pneumonia compared to those who are not pregnant. She said, "There are studies that have shown that there might be increased risk of abortion but this has not been proven. There are risks of pre-maturity but this risk is iatrogenic."

Dr Bajaj added, "If the symptoms are more and severe then the woman is going to face problems. However, there are no cases of miscarriages or that it is has affected the baby."

When asked whether the baby can get Covid through transmission, Dr Sabharwal said that as most of the cases are born by cesarean, it is difficult to understand the transmission of the virus from mother to baby.

But even as doctors said that there have not been serious cases in their eyes so far, a woman has already died due to Covid in the Capital, days after giving birth, leaving behind her newborn, for whom volunteers soon had to source breast milk donors.

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