23 May 2024

COVID-infected mothers can breast-feed their babies, but they must be careful to prevent the babies from becoming infected, by wearing face masks at all times, washing their hands before touching their child and avoiding sneezing while breast-feeding, according to Deputy Director-General of the Department of Health Dr. Ekachai Piensriwatchara.

As an alternative to direct breast-feeding, he said mothers can pump the breast milk and then their baby can be fed from a bottle by a relative who is not infected.

He advised, however, that pregnant women should not take Favipiravir or Fah Talai Jone traditional herbal medicine, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, as the drugs may affect the foetus in the womb, adding that Favipiravir is usually administered only during the last quarter of the pregnancy, on a case by case basis.

According to the Department of Health, 70-80% of infected pregnant women develop no or mild symptoms, with only 10-20% developing serious symptoms.

Those who are asymptomatic or who have mild symptoms, do not have underlying diseases or a high risk of miscarriage can remain in home isolation, separated from other family members and should avoid meeting visitors.

They should also avoid eating with the other family members and should use a separate restroom, if there is more than one in the house, and should be the last person to use the restroom if there is only one, according to the department’s advisory.

Dr. Ekachai said that infected pregnant women should immediately see a doctor if they develop breathing difficulties, fatigue, a high fever, frequent coughing or chest pain while they are in home isolation.

He recommended that they sleep on the left side, to help blood circulation, move their legs more often and drink a lot of water.

Meanwhile, Director of the Health Department Dr. Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said that a total of 7,210 pregnant women and those who gave birth after 6 months have been infected with COVID-19 between last April and March this year. Among them, 110 have died from the disease. He also said that the infection among those women are likely to increase as the Omicron variant continues to spread in Thailand.