Malaysia is currently mourning the loss of our dearest star, Sarah Siti Raisuddin who was also pregnant when she succumbed to the covid 19. The loss of Sarah Siti has been a wake-up call to many Malaysians who were wondering “what is happening to pregnant women during the pandemic” what are the implications on the way we approach mother care Malaysia?
Pregnant women and children along with the elderly have been the most vulnerable group during this pandemic. Their fear and anxiety levels have never been higher as being pregnant during the pandemic is considered a huge risk. Not only to the mothers but also to the babies. Hospitals are overflowing with hundreds of patients who have contracted the covid 19 virus and people are struggling to give birth in the safety of the hospital.
There are so many different factors that are causing the elevated level of stress among pregnant women during this pandemic; for one both mothers and fathers are worried about the risk of death among pregnant women who are infected with the virus. There is a chance of recovery just like a normal person but being pregnant causes our immune system to fight a lot weaker and we succumb easily to the complications and the side effects of the virus.
Another great deal of worry for pregnant women during this pandemic is the limited availability to vaccines for pregnant women. Without the virus, we are bound to experience the severity of the complications. From losing our taste and smell, we might even experience a dramatic drop in our oxygen levels as the virus take over our lungs. This was what complicated the recovery of Malaysia’s sweetheart, Siti Sarah. Vaccine hesitancy is also high among pregnant women as there is a lot of misinformation about the vaccine brands and their side effects on pregnant women. It is important to remember that no matter what vaccine or medicine, they won’t be injecting a pregnant woman without proper testing and trials. A vaccine will not be given to pregnant women unless it is considered hundred percent safe. Despite this, the hesitancy is still at large. In Malaysia, only 20 percent of pregnant women or expectant mothers have been vaccinated with two complete doses of the covid 19 vaccines.
Studies have been conducted to understand the impact of the pandemic whether we get the virus or not. The stress of the pandemic itself causes immense stress that is not good for both mother and the baby. Many have noted that this pandemic is a global crisis just like any other in the world. The cold war, the world war, and other conflicts around the world that were considered a global crisis have caused immense stress on pregnant women just like the pandemic has. these kinds of crises have all exhibited similar symptoms of stress among pregnant women over the past years. Women who give birth during the pandemic and new parents also have found it harder to overcome their postpartum depression and the prevalence of depression is increasing at an alarming rate among pregnant women. The importance of self-care for mothers during this time is not to be underestimated.