There is no explanation required about how the police personnel — of all categories of frontline responders to the pandemic — are going beyond the call of duty, and law and order operations in keeping the system moving. There is also no explanation required on how much care a pregnant woman should receive during these trying times. With the two parallel facts, we are tuned to believe that a five-month pregnant police officer will be away from duty during the pandemic.
But Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Shilpa Sahu from Chhattisgarh proved us all wrong. In a video, pregnant Sahu was seen with a lathi in her hand and a face shield, appealing to people to adhere to lockdown guidelines. Neither the scorching sun nor the pregnancy could stop her from ensuring the people of Dantewada were following COVID-19 regulations.
Her intention is simple. "If we are on the streets for the sake of your (people) safety, you should also be at home for your safety," says Sahu.
"The coronavirus is spreading rapidly in the country. With an aim to control the spread, a lockdown has been imposed in Dantewada district. We are on the roads to ensure people follow the protocols," she adds.
Sahu’s video and pictures went viral after it was shared by Addl Transport commissioner Dipanshu Kabra on his Twitter account. Even as many lauded the frontline worker for her dedication amid the ongoing pandemic, a set of people also believed that it was a needless act where she is being deliberately exposed to risk.
SP Dantewada Dr Abhishek Pallav told media that all pregnant police personnel have been counselled about the added health hazards. “DSP Shilpa is a brave police officer and she has been discharging her duties following corona appropriate behavior herself like mask, social distancing and hand washing," he adds.
A risky affair?
This is not the first time we are seeing a woman doing her regular job. A four-month pregnant nurse from Surat was also in the news for attending the patients at a COVID-19 care centre while observing fast in the holy month of Ramadan.
Sulbha Arora, a gynecologist says that it is perfectly alright for pregnant women to do their routine work that they have been doing pre-pregnancy. “The pregnancy can be continued uneventfully without any complications,” she says.
However, she says that they might be putting themselves at risk out there in the current Covid scenario.
While there is no conclusive report that says that pregnant women are at increased risk of contracting the virus as opposed to non-pregnant women, it is advised to take extra precautions for a pregnant woman as they are dealing with two lives.
Arora adds, “What we are more worried about is the health of the mother because if the mother’s health deteriorates, then she is in a health situation where there is a larger demand from her body compared to a non-pregnant person.”
Our societal upbringing has conditioned us to believe that it's not alright for a pregnant woman to go out and work, especially during a high-risk environment amid a raging pandemic. But science has no evidence that this is correct. As long as proper precautions are taken, Sahu’s grit and determination to work during pregnancy once again proves that pregnancy or motherhood is never a reason to stop yourself from doing what you are meant to do.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)