Can COVID-19 Harm Pregnant Women and Babies?

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Coronavirus, the recent deadly virus scaring the world. Coronavirus is considered a pandemic (worldwide outbreak). It all started with China and then got spread all over the world. Causing more than six thousand deaths and still increasing. It has affected more than one lakh sixty-nine thousand people worldwide. It has scared every human being.

In this article:

What is Corona Virus?
Pregnant Women Susceptibility to Infection with COVID-19
Are there any Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in a Pregnant Woman with COVID-19?
Risk in Healthcare Personnel Treating the Patients with COVID-19
Can a Pregnant Woman with COVID-19 Pass Virus to their Fetus or Newborn?
Are Infants Born to Mothers with COVID-19 During Pregnancy at Increased Risk?
Breastfeeding Infant by a Mother with COVID-19: is it a Potential Risk?
Important Points to be Kept in Mind
Preventive Measures

All You Need to Know About Coronavirus Infection During Pregnancy

What is Corona Virus?

Corona Viruses are a group of large viruses causing respiratory infection ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain to be found in 2019. These are zoonotic i.e. transmitted between animals and humans. Common signs and symptoms are :

  • Fever with dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • In severe cases, pneumonia, kidney failure, and even death.

coronavirus and pregnancyImage source: Business Insider

Pregnant Women Susceptibility to Infection with COVID-19

The pregnant women appear to be less likely to be severely affected by COVID-19 if corona attacks them than the other population. It is expected that the majority of women will just experience mild or moderate flu-like symptoms. Severe symptoms are likely to be seen in old aged people who have weak immunity. Till now no pregnant woman death is reported from the Coronavirus. If the pregnant woman suffers from conditions such as asthma or diabetes then it is more likely for her to catch the Coronavirus disease.

Are there any Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in a Pregnant Woman with COVID-19?

Till now no information is available on adverse pregnancy outcomes in pregnant women with COVID-19. Though pregnancy loss such as miscarriage and stillbirth are observed in cases with infection other than Coronavirus during pregnancy. High-grade fever in the first trimester of pregnancy can potentiate the risk of developing certain birth defects.

Risk in Healthcare Personnel Treating the Patients with COVID-19

Since it is considered to be a contagious disease that spread through contacts. Therefore, it is recommended to place face mask on the patient as soon on his arrival, encouraging cough etiquette. It advises being them isolated from other patients. Caregivers should wear masks, goggles, and gloves while encountering the patient with respiratory illness symptoms. Increased environmental hygiene along with personal hygiene is required.  It is important for caregivers to focus on their own safety to calm down the epidemic condition. Hand hygiene is a must, avoiding contaminated workspaces. Contact tracing for exposure to a case of COVID-19 puts the health care workers at increased risk thus it is important for them to self-monitor and report signs of illness.

Can a Pregnant Woman with COVID-19 Pass Virus to their Fetus or Newborn?

Till now it is not known if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 could pass the virus to the fetus or the newborn during pregnancy or delivery. No woman suffering from COVID-19 is found to a delivery baby with COVID-19. Also in these cases when observed the breast milk, as well as amniotic fluid, did not show any findings of the virus.

Are Infants Born to Mothers with COVID-19 During Pregnancy at Increased Risk for Adverse Outcomes?

No risk is found to be seen in infants born to a mother with COVID-19 till now. But in preterm deliveries occurred in mothers who got COVID-19 test positive in their pregnancy. However, it is still not clear whether there is any relation between maternal infection with COVID-19 and such outcomes.

Breastfeeding Infant by a Mother with COVID-19: is it a Potential Risk?

It has been noted person to person spread has occurred mainly through droplet infection the same as seen in influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Research has shown that no virus was detected in the breast milk of the mother with COVID-19. But this information should not be trusted completely as more researches are still going on. It is advised to the mother to take all measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection to her infant by washing her hands before touching the baby and wearing a face mask during breastfeeding the baby

Important Points to be Kept in Mind

  • During pregnancy, the immune system of pregnant women is less likely to work efficiently therefore it is easy for her to get sick.
  • A high fever during the first trimester is a sign of affecting birth and causing birth defects.
  • Miscarriages and stillbirth can be reported with other Coronaviruses and infections during pregnancy.

Preventive Measures

  • Washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 secs with soap and water
  • Covering of mouth while coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Staying away from people who are ill.

Conclusion

Till now not much is status is known about COVID-19 effects on a pregnant woman as well as the baby. But it is better to stay alert and preventive against it. In any mild symptom, it is advised to visit the doctor rather than staying at home and ignoring it.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pregnant-and-worried-about-the-new-coronavirus-2020031619212

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