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COVID pregnancy
Pregnancy Mar 30, 2020
3 Minutes

Ask the expert: the latest on COVID and Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a wonderful time but also a scary time for anyone. It’s natural to worry about development and health of your unborn baby. COVID 19 has obviously super charged this. On top of that, given this is a new virus there is a whole host of differing opinions and contradictory messages. As always we are dedicated to following the latest science and experts and here our co-founder Consultant Gynaecologist/Obstetrician Mahantesh Karoshi gives us the low down on the latest research and thinking guided by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Obstetric Anaesthetists Association. The good news – not as bad as you may fear…. 

It does not appear that pregnant women are more susceptible to COVID than the general public:  

When you’re pregnant the immune system does change. It is not the same as pre pregnancy. That is for sure. However, it is not as simple as it is constantly ‘suppressed’ through pregnancy (which is what some suggest). In fact, research has shown that it changes with the stages of pregnancy and depending on the levels of pregnancy hormones. Pretty clever stuff. Click here for more. 

Mahantesh says that for now the evidence does not suggest that pregnant women are more susceptible to a COVID infection. The spread can impact anyone through respiratory droplets (from coughing/sneezing or touching a surface where the drops have fallen and then touching your face). It also looks to be transferred through faeces and also from things like contaminated surfaces like your phone.

Who could be more impacted? 

The good news is that the majority of women who catch the COVID infection could experience suffer mild to moderate flu like symptoms. Specific COVID symptoms being dry cough, temperature above or at least 37.8 degrees C and/or shortness of breath. You could even display no symptoms (asymptomatic – although be aware you can still pass this on).

Pregnant women who have heart disease, asthma and diabetes however (like the rest of the population) are more susceptible to a more severe infection.

Suppressed immunity, COVID and pregnancy:

If you are using a donor egg and immunosuppressants you could be more vulnerable and should speak to your healthcare provider if you are concerned.  

The good news. There is no strong evidence that the viral infection passes to an unborn baby: 

So far there is no strong evidence of transmission of the virus from mother to baby if the mother does get a COVID infection. Click here for more research from the Lancet on this specific subject.  

Currently there is no evidence to suggest increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss. There is also no evidence at this stage to suggest a baby’s development would be impacted.

How should I handle my antenatal care until the COVID scare is over? 

If it is practical arrange video consultations wherever possible.

If symptoms are mild then you should self isolate for seven days, notify your doctor.

When there is COVID in the household then you should self isolate for fourteen days.

What about delivery timing with COVID? 

These decisions should be based entirely on individual circumstances and discussed with your doctor.

Bottom line: 

Based on the evidence we have so far the good news is that at this stage it does not appear that a woman with a healthy pregnancy is more likely to catch the COVID infection than a healthy member of the general public. There is also (at this stage) no evidence to suggest if you do get it during pregnancy that your baby will be impacted. Of course this is a moving situation and we are learning more every day. We will endeavour to keep up with the latest thinking. For now the general advice remains. Maintain hand hygiene, avoid touching your face and maintain social distancing. Anyone with symptoms should self isolate for 7-14 days. For more from Mahantesh check him out on Instagram @gynaecologist_london.

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This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

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