A recent advisory from The World Health Organization said that the use of COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant and lactating women should be restricted.
Having said that, it is not improbable to expect that with enough data, there will soon be a vaccine safe enough to be used on pregnant women. Since, some countries like the US have already started vaccinating pregnant women and babies.
So while the vaccine is cleared for use on pregnant women and infants in India, here’s what you need to know about COVID-19 and the vaccine.
COVID-19 in babies, toddlers & children
In general, fewer babies and children are getting sick from COVID-19. So while the good news is that your child is less likely to be sick with COVID-19, it is always better to prevent getting sick in the first place.
And to be extra safe here are the symptoms in babies and children that you need to look out for.
Symptoms in babies & children
Most babies and children who get COVID-19 won’t be sick enough to have to go to the hospital and might even be asymptomatic. But do keep an eye out for any of the symptoms below:
- feeling sleepy
- runny nose
- muscle aches
- not feeding much / loss of appetite
If your baby has any underlying illnesses or is severely ill, then consult your pediatrician immediately.
What if you test positive while you’re pregnant?
Even though there are certain risks that COVID-19 poses to pregnant women, the overall risks are low.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
If you have COVID-19 and are pregnant, your treatment will be aimed at relieving symptoms and may include getting plenty of fluids and rest, as well as using medication to reduce fever, relieve pain or lessen coughing.
If you’re very ill, you may need to be treated in the hospital.
If you have coronavirus, can you breastfeed your baby?
Absolutely! WHO recommends that mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate or continue to breastfeed, while wearing a mask.
Breast milk provides antibodies that give babies a healthy boost and protect them against many infections. Antibodies and bioactive factors in breast milk may fight against COVID-19 infection, if a baby is exposed.
As of March 2021, there hasn’t been any evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 can be transmitted through breast milk, so continue to breastfeed your baby.
Is it safe for pregnant women and infants to get the vaccine?
Despite the suggestion that pregnant women & babies refrain from getting the vaccine at this time, experts from WHO say that there is no specific reason to believe that the risks outweigh the benefits of vaccination on pregnant women.
More recently, clinical trials involving babies and toddlers have already begun in many countries. So, it’s only a matter of time before the vaccine gets to be approved for use on pregnant women and babies.
And most importantly, the three main steps…
Remember that even with the vaccine being administered to the most vulnerable groups right now, it is still too soon to say that the pandemic is over. Practice all preventive measures to keep yourself and your baby safe, especially
- wearing a mask properly
- washing your hands and
- limiting your contact with people