Pregnant women need to guard against coronavirus


Pregnant women infected with the new coronavirus may be susceptible to pregnancy complications, an obstetrician-gynaecologist says.

Pregnant women have physiologic changes in their chests that may make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, according to Justin Brandt. He's assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology in the division of maternal-foetal medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the UK's National Health Service are concerned that women might be more prone to miscarriage, preterm birth and foetal growth restriction if they have Covid-19.

Pregnant women who think they're infected "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 in a Rutgers news release.

Exposure to virus in womb

"However, most women, even if pregnant, have mild symptoms and likely will not have to seek medical attention. My colleagues and I are triaging these calls over the phone to ensure that potentially ill patients are evaluated at the hospital while most are staying home," 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 foetus, 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.

Use delivery services

To reduce their risk of infection, pregnant women should practise 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 like acetaminophen, 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.

READ | Babies are spared severe symptoms of the new coronavirus

READ | Another study finds the new coronavirus typically mild for kids

READ | In small study, no sign that coronavirus can be passed to baby during pregnancy

Image credit: iStock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 2130 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
49% - 9846 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
36% - 7233 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 727 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.