COVID – 19 And Pregnancy: What Expert Says
Created by Dr Pooja Mittal Updated on Apr 21, 2021
Important considerations for COVID - 19 in pregnancy
Effects of Coronavirus on Pregnancy
Pregnant women do not appear more likely to contract the infection than the general population. However, pregnancy itself alters the body's immune system and response to viral infections, which can occasionally be related to more severe symptoms and this will be the same for COVID-19.
Reported cases of COVID-19 pneumonia in pregnancy are milder and with good recovery.
Risks During Pregnancy
There are reports of preterm birth in women with COVID-19 but it is unclear whether the preterm birth was induced because the pregnant lady was ill, or whether some were spontaneous.
Pregnant women with heart disease are at highest risk (congenital or acquired).
The coronavirus epidemic increases the risk of perinatal anxiety and depression, they should speak to their health care provider regarding the same.
Mother To Baby Transmission During Pregnancy
Vertical transmission (transmission from mother to baby antenatally
or intrapartum), emerging evidence now suggests that vertical transmission is probable, although the proportion of pregnancies affected and the significance to the newborn baby is yet to be determined.
At present, there are no recorded cases of vaginal secretions being tested positive for COVID-19.
At present, there are no recorded cases of breast milk being tested positive for COVID-19.
Effects on baby
There are currently no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to COVID-19.
There is no evidence currently that the virus causes birth defects in the baby. Long term data is awaited.
Covid - 19 illness is not an indication for planned termination of pregnancy.
Pregnant women should be informed as follows:
- Most pregnant women will develop a mild illness from which they will eventually recover completely.
- If there are persistent and severe symptoms (such as fever more than 100.4 F, persistent cough, breathlessness, breathing problems), then this indicates a more severe disease which requires specialized care at a health care facility.
- Women who test positive must be delivered at a center equipped to deal with neonatal and maternal complications.
What are the next steps if a pregnant lady tests positive for coronavirus:
- Don't panic, contact your health-care provider / clinic or hospital immediately.
- Most women will recover and have only mild symptoms. Positive women should self isolate themselves and observe COVID appropriate behavior (social distancing, wearing masks, frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizer).
- Taking a healthy balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids is important.
- Stay in constant touch with the doctor for guidance regarding medicines and supplements to be taken and the required tests.
- In case of severe / prolonged symptoms (high fever, breathlessness, severe cough), speak to your doctor immediately, you may need admission to a hospital and more intense care and monitoring.
- Obstetric management is not delayed in order to test for COVID-19
- Planned procedures like induction of labor for indications that are not strictlynecessary, routine growth scans not for a strict guidance-based indication and routine investigations should be reduced to minimum at discretion of your doctor.
- Delivery plan is guided by your doctor as per pregnancy indications, follow your doctor's advice on this.
- Baby is isolated from the mother for 14 days / or as guided by your doctor, if the mother is positive.