What Pregnant People Need to Know About Coronavirus
Good news for moms-to-be: COVID-19 doesn’t appear to affect pregnant women more severely. We spoke with experts to learn more about the potential impact of the coronavirus on your pregnancy.
Check the and Parents.com's COVID-19 Guide for up-to-date information on statistics, disease spread, and travel advisories.
The new coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused widespread panic since it originated in Wuhan, China, a few months ago. But while the disease has caused at least 425,600 illnesses and 19,301 deaths worldwide, pregnant women can rest a little easier: There’s no proof that COVID-19 impacts expecting mothers more severely. Experts also believe that the coronavirus doesn’t pass from Mother to Baby through the placenta. However, some—including partners—during childbirth to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Read on for more information about COVID-19 and pregnancy, with tips for preventing the fast-spreading respiratory illness.
Coronavirus and Pregnancy
It’s natural for pregnant women to worry about the coronavirus. After all, they have a higher risk of contracting viral illnesses due to changes in physiology and immune systems, according to Jessica Madden, M.D., medical director of . “For example, women who get influenza while pregnant成人小视频app are at a higher risk of developing pneumonia than women who aren't pregnant,” she says. Viral illnesses like the flu are associated with an increased risk for miscarriages, birth defects, low birth weight, and other pregnancy complications.
Scientists don’t know whether COVID-19 follows this same trend, but preliminary research suggests otherwise. A , published in mid-February 2020, investigated 147 pregnant women with the coronavirus. Researchers found that 8 percent of cases were considered “severe” and 1 percent were “critical.” These numbers seem comparable with statistics for non-pregnant people.
However, Dr. Madden and the CDC stress that more information is needed before making a definite conclusion. This is especially true since two other coronaviruses—SARS and MERS, which caused outbreaks in the past—were associated with more severe illness and greater mortality in pregnant women.
Also keep in mind that the coronavirus tends to affect older people and those with preexisting conditions more severely, according to the CDC. It makes sense, then, that those with “high-risk” pregnancies have increased odds, suggests Dr. Madden. This includes women with preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and other complications.
Does Coronavirus Affect the Fetus?
成人小视频appHere’s another piece of good news for pregnant women: suggests that COVID-19 doesn’t pass through the placenta (intrauterine vertical transmission). The study followed nine women who gave birth via C-section, and found that none of the babies tested positive for coronavirus. They also appeared healthy after birth. “To date, all umbilical cord blood, , and breast milk samples from women with coronavirus that have been tested for COVID-19 have been negative in babies,” says Dr. Madden.
But as , there’s no research suggesting how coronavirus affects the fetus earlier in pregnancy. High fevers in the first trimester have been associated with birth defects, says the CDC.
Women with SARS and MERS reported pregnancy loss, stillbirth, and miscarriage in the past—so it’s possible that risks are increased for coronavirus too. What’s more, preterm birth成人小视频app has been recorded for mothers positive for COVID-19—but ”it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal infection,” says the CDC.
Does Coronavirus Pass Through Breast Milk?
No scientific studies have been conducted on the coronavirus and breast milk. However, “there have not been any case reports of COVID-19 being passed from mother to baby via breastfeeding,” says Dr. Madden. “The CDC recommends that mothers with confirmed or suspected coronavirus continue to provide breast milk to their babies.” That’s because breastfeeding provides many benefits for both Mom and Baby.
Still, mothers can pass the coronavirus to infants through droplets from coughing and sneezing. These droplets can get into baby’s eyes, nose, or mouth and cause infection. COVID-19 has been shown not to have severe complications for infants, but breastfeeding mothers confirmed with the coronavirus should still take the following precautions:
- Before breastfeeding, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Wear a face mask while nursing to contain droplets
- Wash your hands before pumping, and thoroughly clean pump and bottle parts with washed hands after every use
How to Prevent Coronavirus Transmission
If you’re pregnant or a new mother, avoid travel to places with active coronavirus spread and don’t interact with anyone who's had potential exposure. What’s more, “basic practices encouraged for protection against any respiratory infection remain valid,” says Charles Bailey, M.D., medical director for infection prevention at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange County, California. “Stay home if you’re ill (and encourage others to do the same), cover your cough or sneeze, use disposable tissues and throw them away immediately after use, and get a flu shot if you haven't already.”
- RELATED: Should My Family Be Flying? The Latest Coronavirus Travel Advisories and Precautions to Take
Dr. Bailey also recommends frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The CDC says hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol also works in a pinch. Washing your hands is especially important before eating or touching your face.
I’m Pregnant and Think I Have the Coronavirus—Now What?
If you're showing symptoms of the coronavirus (cough, fever, shortness of breath), consult your obstetrician or physician right away. Unless you live in an area with lots of coronavirus spread, “such symptoms would be much more likely to be caused by influenza or another viral infection,” says Dr. Bailey. Even so, respiratory symptoms should be taken seriously, since they may have negative consequences for the pregnancy.
If you are diagnosed with the coronavirus, your health care provider will decide on a course of treatment. “It’s also important for pregnant women with coronavirus to plan for a hospital birth due to their risk of developing complications from the virus (like pneumonia),” says Dr. Madden. She adds that newborns should also be closely monitored for the development of viral symptoms after birth.