Since the appearance of COVID-19 in December 2019, medical researchers around the world have been working furiously to understand its implications on certain segments of the population, including those who are pregnant.
At Albany Obstetrics & Gynecology in Albany, New York, and our team of dedicated women’s health experts understand that you may have concerns when it comes to pregnancy and any health risk, including that presented by a novel coronavirus.
Take a moment to review what has been learned so far about COVID-19’s effect on pregnancy, and the steps you can take to protect your health.
Pregnancy and increased risk
COVID-19 is very new, which is why it’s referred to as a novel coronavirus. This means that we only have 2-3 months’ worth of information, which makes it difficult for medical professionals to determine the risks.
To date, the CDC reports that it doesn’t know whether pregnant women are more at risk for being infected by COVID-19. As well, most pregnant women fall into age groups that aren’t considered high risk for serious illness.
But this doesn’t mean that you can’t be infected — your chances of contracting COVID-19 are no less than anyone else’s, and you should do everything in your power to protect yourself.
Furthermore, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warns that pregnant women “are known to be at greater risk of severe morbidity and mortality from other respiratory infections such as influenza and SARS-CoV,” particularly in the second and third trimester.
While that sentence may seem frightening, the fact is that pregnant women can ill afford any health problem, especially one that can potentially jeopardize their respiratory systems. The bottom line here is that when there’s any chance of serious illness, you need to be vigilant so that your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible.
COVID-19 and your unborn child
Here again, there isn’t much data to go on, but a study of nine pregnant women who had COVID-19 and gave birth in mid to late January 2020 found that the infection was NOT passed on to the child. Researchers checked breastmilk, amniotic fluid, and cord blood and found no evidence of COVID-19. They also swabbed the mouths of the newborns and confirmed these findings.
If you’re pregnant during this crisis, we strongly urge you to err on the side of caution and practice vigilance in preventing COVID-19. This means:
- Maintaining a social distance of 6 feet
- Sheltering at home, if you are able
- Washing your hands often with antimicrobial soap (for at least 20 seconds each time)
- Disinfecting your home using these CDC-recommended guidelines
When it comes to your prenatal care, we have our own best practices in place to protect you, which entails enhanced sterilization and limited contact. Rest assured, our goal remains the same — to see you through a healthy pregnancy, and we’re with you every step of the way.
If you’d like to learn more about the potential effects of a coronavirus on your pregnancy and your unborn child, please call our office at (518) 516-6726. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.