COVID-19 During Pregnancy: The Implications


How to Deal with COVID-19 During Pregnancy

When you`re pregnant, you`re in a delicate phase. It can be exciting and stressful, as your mind will be filled with a million questions and concerns. You`re particularly concerned about how illness affects the baby while you’re pregnant. You should always inform your doctor if you develop a fever during pregnancy because some viruses may affect your baby’s health. So you can`t exaggerate the need for early medical attention. Some of the common conditions people have during pregnancy are:

  • varicella-zoster
  • Zika virus
  • herpes
  • HIV
  • rubella
  • parvovirus B19
  • cytomegalovirus (CMV)

COVID-19 comes with the risks of some birth abnormalities, which has undeniably added to the list of pregnant women`s worries. The ways in which the virus affects pregnant women and their developing babies isn’t fully known, as studies are still on-going. There`s nothing to worry about anyways, as knowledge is what you need.

To start with, what is coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that circulate in both humans and animals and can cause the common cold and more serious respiratory illnesses. COVID-19 is mainly a respiratory disease, and its symptoms manifest between 2 and 14 days after exposure to the virus. Its most common symptoms are:

  • cough
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath

There may be other symptoms such as:

  • chills
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • loss of smell or taste
  • muscle aches and pains

If you are pregnant and have any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor. You might also need to self isolate to protect others.

Although there are fears that pregnant women are more susceptible to thee virus, no one actually knows for sure. Ordinarily, pregnant women are more susceptible than others to various kinds of respiratory infections, such as the flu because pregnancy partly changes their immune system.

Treatment Options for Women with COVID-19

medical testTreatment for COVID-19 is similar to the treatment of other respiratory illnesses, whether one is pregnant or not.

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol) for a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
  • staying hydrated with water or low-sugar drinks
  • rest

A study of pregnant women with other coronaviruses shows that they are more susceptible to miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, or some severe infections.

Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 in Pregnant Women

Can the Virus Pass on to the Baby During Pregnancy or Childbirth?

There`s no definitive evidence that babies can get the virus during pregnancy. The virus is usually transferred through droplets, and babies are only exposed to such droplets after birth.

In a study of nine pregnant Chinese women infected with the coronavirus in the last trimester of pregnancy, the virus did not show up in samples taken from their amniotic fluid, cord blood, or throat swabs of the newborns.

In a larger study, three newborns born to women with COVID-19 tested positive for the virus. The other 30 newborns in the group tested negative. This leaves researchers unsure i f the babies who tested positive got it immediately after delivery.

Should a COVID-19-Infected Pregnant Woman Get a Cesarean Section?

The delivery mode depends on more factors, beyond the presence of COVID-19. However, a vaginal delivery may be better if you are eligible for it. Performing surgery on a weakened body may cause more complications.

Can the Coronavirus Pass through Breastmilk?

Although the few studies done on women with the coronavirus breastfeeding, the answer appears to be no, however, experts advise that there`s more research required in this area before there can be any certainty that there’s no risk.

If you’re a new mom who has COVID-19, you should talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of breastfeeding. If you do decide to breastfeed, you might want to limit your baby’s exposure to the virus by:

  • wearing a face mask
  • washing your hands thoroughly before touching your baby
  • washing your hands thoroughly before handling a breast pump or bottle
  • having someone who doesn`t have the virus give the baby a bottle of expressed breast milk

What Else Should you Know About the Coronavirus?

People who Don’t Have Symptoms Can Spread the Virus

Not everyone who is infected with the coronavirus actually has symptoms. One-third of 565 Japanese citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan, China in February tested positive for coronavirus without any symptomss. A Chinese study reports that more than half of infected children had no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

That may sound like good news for the affected individuals, but definitely not for public health because such people can unintentionally spread the virus to others. This is why it is highly important for everyone to take safety measures.

You May Already Have Been Infected

Because some people never develop symptoms, they thought was they had was a bad cold or the flu without actually knowing that they had COVID-19. Scientists developed tests that can detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the blood, which gives evidence of past infection with the coronavirus. This helps us to understand better, the true extent of the pandemic. You can contact your healthcare provider for antibody testing if you think you had the infection.

People with Type A Blood May Be More Susceptible to Infection

A Chinese study of 2,173 individuals with COVID-19 found that there were more people with type A blood. The study also found that there were fewer sick people with type O blood.

How to Prevent Coronavirus

preventing the virusAs the popular saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Here are simple ways to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Stay at least six feet away from people.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, eyes, and nose.
  • Stay out of large crowds.
  • Take care of yourself: eat well and get enough rest.

Some Pregnancy Facts

  • At about four months into the pregnancy, babies urinate inside of their mothers` wombs.
  • Due to water weight and other extra fluid, pregnant women may have swollen feet.
  • Nine in ten women have a different skin tone during pregnancy.
  • The heart grows during pregnancy — It works harder and pumps more blood for that growing baby.
  • Unborn children in the womb usually have all their fingerprints after 9-12 weeks.
  • Three out of four women develop a linea nigra during pregnancy. The linea nigra is a dark, vertical line that runs down the abdomen. It may or may not vanish after birth.
  • Pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell to enable them to steer clear of foods they shouldn’t eat because of their growing baby.
  • Humans are the only mammals who do not ingest their placenta after birth.
  • Pregnant women have less oxygen in their blood, which is what makes them more forgetful.
  • Some pregnant women lactate in late pregnancy at the sound of someone else’s baby crying.

Now that you Know…

Pregnant or not, you should take the coronavirus seriously. Although there`s still much to know about the virus, the little research that’s available shows that pregnant women with COVID-19 are no more likely than others to have a more severe case. Also, fortunately, the virus is not likely to be passed along to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth. It is better to be prepared than scared. Take steps  to prevent the virus, and if you think you have it, go for testing.