Is pregnant women and their unborn babies at increased risk if the women develops coronavirus infection?
The coronavirus is catching people worldwide. Pregnant women, old people, and children are also getting infected with it. We do know that the infection could be risky in elderly people with co-morbid conditions. But what about children, pregnant ladies and their unborn baby? Does the virus pose any danger to them?
Two new reports on coronavirus and pregnant women
A Swiss study published on 30 April 2020 in JAMA showed the outcome of a pregnant woman, 28 who was Covid-positive at 19 weeks of gestation at Lausanne University Hospital hospital. Two days, later, she went into labor. And 10 hours later, she had a stillbirth and the writers stated:
“The stillbirth appears related to placental infection with SARS-CoV-2, supported by virological findings in the placenta.”
The second study published in American Journal of Gynecology cones from Iran from where the researchers followed 9 pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19. Seven of these died, one was gravely ill and one recovered. None of the women had any underlying health condition and their disease was more worse than that in their family members. Therefore the team concluded:
“The fatal cases reported herein demonstrate [the maternal mortality rate] is not zero, and should inspire caution against complacency and guide restraint in rushing estimates of relative or attributable risk with pregnancy,”
Earlier studies on pregnancy and coronavirus infection
Previously, studies from China and New York reported no adverse outcomes in pregnant women compared to non-pregnant people. An article in AJOG studied 16 reports totalling 154 COVID-positive pregnant women and 118 newborns. It revealed few cases of critical outcomes. Nine Chinese pregnant women with coronavirus positivity required no ventilation and recovered smoothly. From New York, 43 pregnant patients were studied and all improved.
Earlier studies with H1N1 or swine flu and SARS showed that pregnancy did pose a risk and had poor outcomes with these infections.
What to infer from these different studies?
It is, difficult to currently decide whether pregnant women have poorer prognosis with coronavirus infection. Christopher Zahn, the vice president of practice activities for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opined:
“We certainly recognize that pregnant women can get severely ill. But what we need to look at from a guidance perspective is the population, not the individual.”
Larger studies are required to know whether coronavirus indeed leads to a graver disease during pregnancy. Additionally, the outcome of the infection on the unborn child needs more number of cases to analyze, and reach some conclusion on it. Neel Shah, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School says:
“For now, the important thing is we approach this with both humility and empathy. We have to be able to update our priors when we get new information.”
“A couple weeks ago, there was no evidence that a mom could pass the virus to a baby, and now there is maybe some evidence. What that really means for people who are pregnant and trying to conceive is that they should take extra precautions.”
Click the link ahead to read Why some people are against face mask wearing in public places during the current coronavirus pandemic?
Until things are clear, pregnant ladies and new parents should take all coronavirus precautions. If mother is positive for coronavirus, the baby should be separated from her first sometime until her reports clear up.
Source: The Daily Beast