If you listen to many of the recollections about 2020, it doesn’t take long to see that people feel the novel coronavirus robbed them of various normalcies in life. No doubt, last year brought us a significant disruption to our ways of connecting. Even our ways of doing day-to-day things changed, sometimes from one week to the next. Due to worries about COVID-19 and how it may affect a pregnant woman and her unborn child, as well as newborn babies, many couples revamped their family-planning schedule. This need not be the new norm. The more we have learned about this new coronavirus, the better we can serve our patients who are or wish to become pregnant. Here, we discuss pregnancy in the time of coronavirus.
How COVID Spreads, and How to Reduce Your Risk
Studies suggest that the virus is primarily transmitted when respiratory droplets that are released into the air when someone coughs or sneezes are inhaled by another person. Tiny particles called aerosols may drift in the air, carrying the virus farther, such as across a room. Some data suggest that virus particles may live on surfaces. If a person touches the surface and then touches their face before washing or sanitizing their hands, they may pick up the virus.
Several tactics can reduce the risk of virus transmission, including:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, several times a day.
- Avoid touching the face.
- Social distance; stay at least 6 feet away from others and limit gatherings. However, do get outside for walks and exercise.
- Wear a mask in public, especially in places such as the grocery store.
Does COVID-19 Present More Risks for Pregnant Women?
Studies regarding the effects of the novel coronavirus on various demographics and groups are ongoing. Current data suggests that a pregnant woman is not at a higher risk of getting COVID-19. One study did show that pregnant women who contracted the virus were more likely to need significant interventions, such as a ventilator. However, mortality was only minimally higher among pregnant women than other women in the case study. Researchers concluded that the overall risk of complications was low. In another study of 600 cases, pregnant women who were hospitalized with COVID-19 exhibited a 12.6% rate of preterm birth. The miscarriage rate among this group was only 2%. In the general population, the rate of miscarriage is approximately 10%. Finally, multiple small studies have determined that the risk of a mother transmitting the novel coronavirus to her fetus is low. In these studies, fewer than 10 newborns of more than 100 pregnant women had tested positive for the virus. Fewer than 5 showed clinical signs of infection.
The team at Huey and Weprin OB/GYN is staying up to date on the latest coronavirus information. Please remember that guidelines and recommendations will continue to change as we learn more about this illness.