Pregnancy and Coronavirus, What is known So far

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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. According to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, a wide share of Americans are at least moderately confident in U.S. health officials’ ability to handle emerging viruses, and more express concern about catching the flu than catching the new coronavirus. (NIAID-RML via AP)

The research that does exist includes women who were in the later stages of their pregnancies.  There is no current information regarding new pregnancies during the outbreak.  The following is a basic summary of general questions. Follow the links below for more in detail information.

The Harvard Health Blog looked at the known information thus far.  You can also visit the obygn library for more medical abstracts

  • No evidence shows that being pregnant increases a woman’s risk for getting COVID-19, or her risk of developing severe symptoms if she has the disease. However, being pregnant generally changes the immune system so it is vital to practice all social distancing and quarantine methods
  • Experts think that pregnant women are just as likely as the general public to develop symptoms if infected with the new coronavirus. Current information suggests symptoms are likely to be mild to moderate, as is true for women (and men) in this age range who are not pregnant.

If you are pregnant and experiencing some of the coronavirus symptoms it is recommended not simply go to your doctor’s office. It is very important to limit the spread of the virus.  It is best to call your doctor first to determine whether you need testing and/or to come in for evaluation. The American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists has provided all obstetricians with an algorithm for how to manage pregnant patients who may have symptoms of COVID-19 or exposure to COVID-19, and your obstetrician may be able to help you triage your symptoms over the phone.

Does becoming ill with COVID-19 increase risk of miscarriage or other complications?

An increased risk of miscarriage or fetal malformations has not been documented in pregnant women who are infected with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Based on data from other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that pregnant women who get COVID-19 may have a higher risk for some complications, such as preterm birth. However, this data is extremely limited, and the infection may not be the direct cause of preterm birth.

If I become sick, what is the risk of passing the virus on to my fetus or newborn?

Currently, only small studies reporting on a limited number of cases are available to answer many questions, including this one. Most of the women in these case reports had COVID-19 during the third trimester of pregnancy.

  • study of nine pregnant womenwho were infected with COVID-19 and had symptoms showed that none of their babies was affected by the virus. The virus was not present in amniotic fluid, the babies’ throats, or in breast milk.
  • Another study of 38 womeninfected with COVID-19 found that none of the newborns tested positive for the disease.
  • Two case reports of infants born to mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2 demonstrated that the infants had elevated levels of antibodies to the virus but did not demonstrate any clinical evidence of infection with the virus (see hereand here).
  • Another case report analyzing 33 pregnant women  infected  with SARS-CoV-2 found that three of their newborns were also infected with the virus and had clinical signs of infection, as well as confirmation of COVID-19 infection. It is unclear whether these newborns were infected while in the womb or if these infections were acquired after birth, as the newborns were tested when they were days old. The possibility of vertical transmission (passing the virus from mother to baby) has not been ruled out.

The risk of passing the infection to a fetus appears to be very low. Currently there is no evidence of any fetal malformations or effects due to maternal infection with COVID-19.

If a woman has an infection with a high fever during the first trimester, it’s safest to use acetaminophen to lower temperature to avoid risk to the developing fetus.

As more information becomes available , we will follow up with more information and important medial links

 

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