Women have a lot to worry about while pregnant, down to the types of cheeses safe to eat. The coronavirus pandemic, or COVID-19, has created another item to wonder and worry about during pregnancy. Here is what we know and what you can do to keep yourself and your unborn baby healthy.
Are Pregnant Women at Risk for Coronavirus?
The COVID-19 virus is new to us, so there is much to learn. According to Dr. Brett Belchetz from the health company Maple, “There is no evidence that pregnant women are at increased risk from COVID-19.”
While this sounds promising and may very well be correct, it is essential to remember this virus hasn’t been fully studied and analyzed. While so far, there isn’t proof that women are at an increased risk; it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious. Exactly what may happen to an infected pregnant woman is still unknown.
Pregnant women, in general, are more susceptible to viral respiratory infections due to changes in immunity during pregnancy. Pregnant women can be at a higher risk of developing severe illness from other viral respiratory infections. You should be careful, especially if you have underlying health conditions like diabetes or lupus. The Centers for Disease Control recommend practicing caution during this time of public health concern.
In a very limited study done on 9 pregnant women in China, the results were promising. They all tested negative for COVID-19 found in their amniotic fluid, cord blood, and breast milk. The children were tested after birth, and none had acquired the virus.
There have been a small number of reports of preterm birth from women who tested positive for COVID-19. It is not clear if these early births were a direct relation to the virus or another problem the mother was experiencing.
Fevers during pregnancy can be dangerous for women in the first trimester. There may be an increased chance of birth defects. If you have a fever, whether related to the coronavirus or not, you should visit the doctor to discuss treatment.
How Can Pregnant Women Protect Themselves?
Pregnant women can take the same precautions others are taking to avoid infection.
- If you know a person has been ill, avoid that person. According to many government requests, it is advised to avoid crowds in general. Staying home if it is not necessary to go out may be one of the safest options available as the virus begins community spread.
- Wash your hands often, and don’t touch your face. Carrying hand sanitizer can help protect you if you can’t get to a sink. Portable wipes with disinfectants can be an excellent option for wiping down a cart or handbasket when shopping.
- Sanitise surfaces like countertops, faucets, door handles, car handles, and steering wheels. Anything that you or your family might touch should be disinfected.
- Get rest and healthy nutrition. A run-down body is more likely to get sick when it can’t fight off disease. Try not to stress out, relax, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- If you are feeling symptomatic, self-quarantine, and head to the doctor. As of yet, there is no evidence that pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness when testing positive, but the elderly community does have a higher risk.
While all of this virus coverage seems scary, it is essential to remain calm and do what you can to protect yourself. With proper precautions, you will benefit your health as well as the community’s. If you have additional questions about your pregnancy, obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Jeffrey Lodge of Cool Springs OBGYN can help.