The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is impacting lives around the globe. If you’re pregnant, you may fear that you are at increased risk or that your baby’s health may be negatively affected if you contract the virus. While there’s limited data at this point, researchers are working day and night to better understand the virus and its impact on pregnant women and their babies. Here’s what they’re saying…
A woman’s immune system is slower to respond to illness during pregnancy. The degree to which that may make pregnant women more likely to catch coronavirus (COVID-19) – or to experience severe illness as a result – is up for debate.
Earlier this month, Public Health England, the executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom, added pregnant women to its list of, “those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19).” Chief medical officer, Chris Witty, suggested that pregnant women should remain home for 12 weeks as a precautionary measure, adding, “we are early in our understanding of this virus and we want to be sure.”
Other experts are less concerned. Cynthia DeTata, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, says, “It seems that pregnant women infected with the virus do not have a more severe illness than the general population.” A view shared by World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said during a coronavirus COVID-19 media briefing, “there is no evidence that pregnant women present with different signs or symptoms or are at higher risk of severe illness.” Although both physicians concede there’s not enough data yet to be certain.
One area where the evidence to-date is generally positive is regarding the potential of transmitting the virus from a pregnant mother to her developing baby. Several pregnant women infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) have given birth to healthy, non-infected babies. In fact, there is only one recorded case of a newborn being diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and it’s uncertain whether the child caught the infection soon after birth or actually in the womb.
While there have been limited reports of premature births among mothers infected with coronavirus (COVID-19), the rate is similar to that of otherwise healthy mothers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there does not appear to be increased risk of miscarriage, fetal malformations or other complications for babies of women infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you’re pregnant and concerned about coronavirus (COVID-19), the best thing you can do is to follow standard CDC prevention guidelines:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Put distance between yourself and other people
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
And don’t let coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns prevent you from keeping up with your prenatal care visits. Your obstetrician’s practice should have measures in place to help minimize the risk of in-office coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission. Don’t be shy about asking though. Calling your obstetrician’s office to learn about their coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions will give you much needed peace of mind.
At Sira, we know the uncertainly around coronavirus (COVID-19) can amplify anxieties that often accompany pregnancy. If you would like someone to talk to, our pregnancy counselors would be happy to talk with you over the phone or in person. And if you think you might be pregnant and need a medical pregnancy test to know for sure, we’re here for that too. And all of our services are 100% free.
Call Sira in Gainesville today at 352-377-4947.