While pregnancy can be a joyous time in your life, it can also bring nervousness and uncertainty. This is especially true during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many pregnant women have questions about how COVID-19 may affect their pregnancy or their baby. The knowledge we have about coronavirus and pregnancy is continually evolving, and continuing research will bring us more information.
At the current time, there is no evidence being pregnant makes a woman more likely to get COVID-19. However, pregnant women should be aware that they are at higher risk of severe symptoms if infected. Compared to non-pregnant women, women who are pregnant and sick with the virus are more likely to be admitted to the hospital, put on a ventilator, or require additional life support. Some data shows that pregnant women who test positive for coronavirus may be at increased risk for blood clots. It is recommended that pregnant patients hospitalized with the virus use blood thinners. Some experts even suggest that all pregnant women with COVID-19 should take blood thinners, but more research is necessary on this topic. Pregnant women are also at higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than non-pregnant women, although this is rare.
While we do not have a lot of information about how the virus may affect your baby in the womb, some research has found that pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to have preterm labor and delivery. Current data shows that exposure to the virus does not increase the risk of birth defects. While it is unknown exactly how often the virus may be passed from mother to baby, there is likely a small risk of this happening if a mother is COVID-positive at the time of delivery. Most newborns who test positive for COVID-19 will have no or mild symptoms.
Due to these risks and unknowns, pregnant women should be extra careful about protecting themselves from the coronavirus. Wear a mask when you are in public areas, and practice social distancing with people who are not part of your household. Wash your hands frequently, limit travel, and avoid activities where it may be challenging to protect yourself. You may need to be creative about approaching your pregnancy, such as hosting virtual parties instead of standard baby showers and family events. You should also be aware that your hospital may require testing for COVID-19 before delivery and limit the number of people who can visit you and your baby at the hospital.
You should continue to receive prenatal care throughout your pregnancy according to your provider’s recommendations. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during pregnancy, such as a fever, cough, or loss of taste or smell, it is essential to let your healthcare provider know. They can give you more information about testing and treatment. While it may be a stressful time to be pregnant, know that we are here for you both during and after your pregnancy to answer your questions, and take care of you and your baby.
“If You Are Pregnant, Breastfeeding, or Caring for Young Children.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 Nov. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html.
“Understand How COVID-19 Might Affect Your Pregnancy.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic, 5 Nov. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/pregnancy-and-covid-19/art-20482639.
Alyssa Heath, PA
Canyon View Women’s Care