Pune keeps Covid on pregnant pause with aggressive testing, strict delivery protocol

Gynaecologist in Hadapsar

PUNE Three months into the pandemic in Pune and city obstetricians claim there is evidence of any case in the city where the Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes the Covid-19 infection is transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her new-born child.

Dr Madhuri Rokade, resident medical officer at the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) Sonawane hospital, said, “Our hospital was opened exclusively for Covid-19 positive women on May 2 and since then, we have had three deliveries.”

“ICMR guidelines state that a pregnant woman must be tested for Covid-19 five days before the date of delivery. There have been reports in some studies globally that the infection could cause pre-term delivery, but no such incident has been recorded in Pune yet, however, it would be too soon to say it cannot happen,” Dr Rokade added.

The civic body has been actively surveying pregnant women who are then followed up with, randomly, to check for any flu-like symptoms.

The civic body has conducted door-to-door surveys in which 2,502 pregnant women in the city were identified in containment zones as of June 5.

Of these 2,502 women, Hadapsar ward has 648, followed by Bhavani peth (378) and Aundh (233) – the three areas with the highest number of pregnant women.

The PMC’s mobile swab collection van focuses on comorbid, pregnant and senior citizens, all of whom are tested for Covid-19.

Dr Rokade details how strict care is taken to ensure safety of all involved in the delivery process.

“We adhere to the strict guidelines of wearing PPEs at the time of delivery. The woman is given an N95 mask and every person, including the ward boy and sanitation staff, who enter the operation theatre is given a PPE kit. Since there is no proof that the virus enters the placenta the only source of infection from a mother to a baby are respiratory droplets, which is possible during breastfeeding. Once the baby is delivered we check the baby for infection on the fifth day and if the result is negative, the baby is handed over to a relative,” she said.

PMC commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said, “The civic body has taken four major steps which includes creating a separate hospital for Covid-19 positive pregnant woman which is the Sonawane hospital. We also started surveying pregnant woman across the city and focused on them by following up on symptoms and testing. We also have tied up with a private hospital to treat Covid-19 positive pregnant women. Finally, we have reserved maternity wards for non-Covid-19 pregnant women.”

Dr Rajeshwari Pawar, obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood hospital, said, “The fear of infection if mothers-to-be go to a multi-speciality hospital is more, since there is no guarantee that a person who comes to a hospital is not Covid-19 positive. Since maternity hospitals have pregnant women who have been tested and are found negative, there is some assurance. Also, all appointments are done in phases – be it delivery, vaccinations or routine check-ups.”

-Steffy Thevar

Link below to the live where I discuss why more pregnant mothers are choosing Motherhood speciality hospital during this pandemic!