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Covid-19: How long should women wait before planning pregnancy after recovery?

Experts opine that while vaccines are not full-proof prevention, they certainly reduce the possibilities of acquiring the infection, its severity and hence the complications.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
January 17, 2022 4:30:28 pm
pregnancy, planning a pregnancy in 30s, pregnancy in 30s versus pregnancy in 20s, reproductive health, healthy pregnancy, late pregnancy, indian express newsIt is important to consider a few things in pregnancy when it comes to mother and child's health (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Covid-19 affects every individual in a different way, and is seen to be more severe in people with co-morbidies along with pregnant women. Health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also put pregnant women under the “high-risk group for severe Covid-19 illness”. As such, if you are planning pregnancy amid the pandemic, there are some important things women must take note of.

As per CDC, although the overall risks are low, people who are pregnant are at an increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19 when compared to women who are not. People who have Covid-19 during pregnancy are also at increased risk for preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks), stillbirth, and might also be at increased risk for other pregnancy complications.

According to CDC, having certain underlying medical conditions, and other factors, including age, can further increase the risk for developing severe Covid-19 illness during or after pregnancy (for at least 42 days following end of pregnancy).

So, given the risks, how long should women wait for before trying to get pregnant?

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Stressing that there are “no specific guidelines” for planning pregnancy after Covid-19, Dr Akta Bajaj, senior consultant and head- obstetrics and gynaecology, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals said, “Usually, it is recommended that 10 days after recovery is a good time, but with inherent precautions.”

These precautions include prioritising taking both the vaccine doses, waiting for subsequent ovulation, and then planning pregnancy.

“No long-term consequences of the infection linger in the body, so unlikely that it will affect pregnancy, chances of getting pregnant, or a woman’s health,” said Dr Ritu Sethi, senior consultant, gynecologist, Cloud Nine Hospital, Gurugram and Apex Clinic, Gurugram, who added that women can “plan pregnancy two weeks after the symptoms subside”.

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However, Dr Surabhi Siddhartha, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital Kharghar said that a patient should wait “minimum eight weeks” post infection. “For any infection to subside and good antibodies to develop, it takes minimum six to eight weeks. Since pregnancy also is demanding for a woman’s body, it is important that she feels healthy,” said Dr Siddhartha.

What happens when the pregnancy is confirmed along with Covid infection?

“If your pregnancy is positive along with Covid infection, there is nothing to worry about if the symptoms are mild and one is not prescribed a lot of medication,” said Siddhartha.

When is a right and safe time to conceive?

As per United Kingdom’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, “becoming pregnant during the Covid-19 pandemic is a matter of personal choice”. Getting vaccinated before pregnancy will help prevent Covid-19 infection and its serious consequences, it states.

Agreed Dr Sethi and said when “this pandemic will end is anyone’s guess”. “So once a patient has recovered from her symptoms, she can plan her pregnancy,” asserted Dr Sethi.

Even as per CDC, Covid-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. In addition, everyone who is eligible, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future, should get a booster shot.

Does vaccine affect fertility or the foetus?

Addressing such concerns, Hopkinsmedicine.org stated that women actively trying to conceive may be vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccines — there is no reason to delay pregnancy after completing the vaccine series.

As per the website, confusion around this issue arose when a false report surfaced on social media, saying that the spike protein on the coronavirus was the same as another spike protein called syncitin-1 that is involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy.

‘The false report said that getting the Covid-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this different spike protein and affect her fertility. The two spike proteins are completely different, and getting the Covid-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilisation methods. During the Pfizer vaccine tests, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant, and the only one in the trial who suffered a pregnancy loss had not received the actual vaccine, but a placebo.’

Experts opine that while vaccines are not full-proof prevention, they certainly reduce the possibilities of acquiring the infection, severity of infection and hence the complications.

“Getting the Covid vaccine also has no bearing on planning the pregnancy,” said Dr Sethi. “If a woman gets pregnant after her first dose, she should take her second dose as scheduled. It is important for woman to be aware that the vaccine does not potentially harm her health or her unborn foetus. The chances of getting Covid during pregnancy is the same as that in the general population but severity of infection is more if a pregnant woman contracts Covid,” added Dr Sethi.

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📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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