Since the outbreak of the novel COVID-19 in Wuhan, China a total number of 1,067,324 people have contracted the deadly virus and 226,038 have fully recovered while 56,729 have died worldwide as at Thursday 3, April 2020. As the virus continue ravage the world concerns and attention have shifted to pregnant women and their unborn babies especially those with COVID-19.
Recent research however, revealed that pregnant women with COVID-19 may be susceptible to pregnancy complications. This was made known by an obstetrician-gynecologist.
According to Justin Brandt who is assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the division of maternal-fetal medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, pregnant women have physiologic changes in their chests that may make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the U.K.’s National Health Service are concerned that women might be more prone to miscarriage, preterm birth and fetal growth restriction if they have COVID-19.
Pregnant women who think that they are have the virus responsible for COVID-19 “should call their obstetrician and let them know their concerns. If symptoms are severe, they may need to be evaluated in the hospital,” Brandt said.
“However, most women, even if pregnant, have mild symptoms and likely will not have to seek medical attention,” Brandt said.
“Patients at home with mild symptoms need to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. They should not go to their routine prenatal visits until they have spoken to their doctor’s office and received instructions. We are encouraging our patients to be forthcoming with symptoms when they call, even mild symptoms, so we can ensure patients get optimal care,” he added.
Most reports suggest that there is a low risk of the coronavirus being transmitted from an infected mother to her fetus, but there is some research suggesting that some newborns of mothers with COVID-19 have coronavirus-specific antibodies, suggesting they were exposed to the virus in the womb.
“We need more data to clarify and corroborate this risk, but there may be reason to worry about vertical transmission and associated conditions, including birth defects, early neonatal disease and other complications,” Brandt said.
To reduce their risk of infection, pregnant women should practice social distancing, stay home and avoid public gatherings. If they must leave home, they should wash their hands regularly, try not to touch their face, and stay at least six feet from people who may be sick or people whose statuses are unknown, Brandt advised.
He said expectant parents should prepare to be home for several months and be stocked up on food, common medicines including Tylenol, thermometers and other household items such as soap, toilet paper and washing detergent. When possible, use delivery services rather than going to markets and other stores where there may be groups of people