Are pregnant women more at risk of becoming infected with coronavirus? Is it possible to pass it to your baby? Will it impact the pregnancy or fetal health? Is it safe to go to the hospital for delivery? These are a few questions that may be running through your mind while deciding if you should conceive during the COVID-19 pandemic
This article will help answer some of the pressing questions you may have about trying to conceive during these uncertain times.
How Can COVID-19 Affect Pregnancy and the Health of Your Baby?
While the ACOG reports that some women with COVID-19 experienced pre-term birth and other negative health outcomes, there’s no definite conclusion that coronavirus was the specific cause. Since data is so limited on novel coronavirus, it’s difficult to tell how much of an effect It has on pregnant mothers and their babies.
Respiratory infections, including related coronaviruses SARS and MERS as well as the flu, may increase the risk of premature delivery and miscarriage. However, these are potential risks, not actual statistics. Plus, they don’t provide insight into the novel coronavirus. You can get more information on coronavirus and pregnancy from mcrmfertility.com.
Pregnancy and Risk of Severe Infection
Currently, major health organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) don’t know whether pregnant women are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than non-pregnant women. They also aren’t certain if pregnant women will become sicker as a result. However, they do know that pregnancy affects the immune system and major organs (i.e. heart, lungs, etc.).
Various studies show that pregnant women are more likely to experience severe symptoms with other respiratory illnesses like the flu. So far, according to evidence, coronavirus doesn’t seem to affect them in the same way. A study in Wuhan, China and a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest pregnant women with COVID-19 aren’t more likely to develop life-threatening illnesses than non-pregnant patients.
Yet, based on previous evidence that shows the impact of other respiratory illnesses on pregnant women, you should proceed with caution if you want to conceive during the coronavirus pandemic. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) still considers pregnant women to be an at-risk population for COVID-19.
Can You Pass Coronavirus to Your Baby?
Vertical transmission occurs when a pregnant woman passes an illness to her baby. This can happen during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding. For coronavirus, vertical transmission appears to be rare. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. In a study of 33 infants whose mothers had COVID-19, three tested positive for coronavirus. A more recent study examined the antibodies present in babies born to six mothers with COVID-19. All six infants had antibodies.
Therefore, it’s reasonable to conclude there is some risk, although rare, of passing the illness to your baby, whether in utero or after birth. However, it may be reassuring to know that all infants in these studies recovered from the virus quickly. In general, COVID-19 related deaths in babies and children are rare.
Is Conceiving During the Coronavirus Pandemic a Good Idea?
The question of whether to conceive during the coronavirus pandemic is deeply personal. While the risk of complications seems to be low, becoming pregnant during this time may still be stressful due to non-health related factors such as less access to prenatal care and a limited number of support persons (i.e. partner, family, friends, doula) allowed in delivery rooms and doctors’ offices.