The information available for pregnant women and the new Coronavirus is scarce, but it seems they are no more likely than any of their group to have severe symptoms from the COVID-19.
According to a report published Friday by the World Health Organization, only 8 percent had a severe case of the disease and 1 percent were in critical condition in an analysis of 147 women.
While it is too soon to understand the consequences for these women’s babies, so far at least, infants born to women with the infection seemed free of the virus and appeared healthy at birth, according to a study of nine pregnant women and their babies published last month in The Lancet.
“Fortunately, there was no evidence of vertical transmission from mother to child,” shares Dr. Wei Zhang, an epidemiologist at Northwestern University and one of the Lancet study’s authors.
But as Dr. Zhang himself revealed the study is small and it also does not give any information in regards to the infection’s effect on women in earlier stages of pregnancy.
“We do know that we’re going to have lots of pregnant women with coronavirus, just given the number of cases,” says chair of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University, Dr. Denise Jamieson. “It’s going to be critical that surveillance systems collect information on pregnancy status.”
Of the three experts who designed the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidelines for treating pregnant women infected with the coronavirus, Dr. Jamieson is one of them.
She reveals that guidelines request doctors’ offices to screen pregnant women even before their appointment so women with symptoms can wait in a closed-off area away from other patients along with taking down a detailed travel history.
Dr. Jamieson says pregnant women should take the exact same precaution as everyone else but let their doctors know immediately if they start experiencing symptoms.
In addition, pregnant women should also obtain copies of their health records in advance, “so that if there is some disruption in services, they have a record of their prenatal care,” she said.
In order for a vaccine to be offered to pregnant women, scientists must balance the risks and benefits as at this point, both are unknown.
Researchers would also need to know the nature and prevalence of the disease in pregnant women, along with any potentially dangerous side effects from the vaccine, like a fever. If you are or someone you know begins to exhibit Coronavirus symptoms, be sure to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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