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COVID-19 IN PREGNANCY - TOP 10 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Dr. Mersad Alimoradi 06 Dec 2021
COVID-19 IN PREGNANCY - TOP 10 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic is nearing its end, and it looks like coronavirus is here to stay.

COVID-19 infection is known to be more dangerous in certain risk groups, like the elderly, and those with diabetes, congestive heart failure, and other chronic medical conditions. But are pregnant women also at risk of severe corona infection?

As far as we know, no. Pregnancy per se is not a risk factor for severe corona. However, certain risk factors might make you more likely to develop COVID-19 complications if you're pregnant.

This, and many other questions related to coronavirus infection during pregnancy, you'll find answered in the article below.

Let's check out the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and pregnancy. Read on!

Are pregnant women more at risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms?

So far, there is no clear data that suggests that pregnant women (as a group) are more likely to develop severe disease compared to nonpregnant patients.

Among pregnant women, however, some factors increase the likelihood of a complicated disease course.

Researchers in the UKOSS study found that those in their 3rd trimester are more likely to be hospitalized and experience a more severe course of illness compared to their counterparts. Other factors like having certain health conditions, hypertension in pregnancy, being from a minority background, being overweight, or aged over 35 were also identified as risk factors for more severe symptoms during pregnancy.

To summarize, pregnant people, as a group, are not more prone to getting infected with COVID-19 than anyone. However, a specific subset of pregnant women might be a risk factor for a more severe disease course compared to other pregnant women.

Are the corona vaccines safe during pregnancy?

You should get the first available COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible if you are pregnant.

Since a subset of pregnant women is more at risk of corona complications, you should quickly get yourself protected against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccination is safe in pregnancy. There is no data to suggest that corona vaccines cause any complications in pregnant women or affect the unborn fetus in any way. On the contrary, most health authorities highly recommend getting vaccinated against corona if you're pregnant since pregnant women are considered a vulnerable group.

Are pregnant women more likely to be infected with corona?

There is no data to suggest that pregnant women are more likely to catch the coronavirus. If you're pregnant, your likelihood of getting infected with COVID-19 is the same as any other healthy individual in the general population.

If you get vaccinated, you should be much less likely to catch corona, compared to non-vaccinated pregnant women.

Can COVID-19 infection interfere with pregnancy or cause miscarriage?

Current data suggests that pregnant women who develop severe corona infection and become hospitalized are 2-3 times more likely to give birth prematurely (preterm birth).

This, however, might not be directly related to the virus itself. It can be explained by the fact that delivery is considered a therapeutic option that can possibly reduce the severity of COVID-19.

There is still no data to suggest that COVID-19 can cause abortion or miscarriage in pregnant women.

Will my fetus get infected if I become infected with COVID-19?

The data on whether you can transmit COVID-19 to your unborn baby during pregnancy is minimal and conflicting. Several authors have claimed that viral molecules have been detected in the placenta and amniotic fluid. However, this does not mean an actual infection.

So, according to the WHO, there is still not enough data to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted from mother to unborn child.

What happens if I test positive just before giving birth?

If you test positive for corona before delivery, then your health care team will take proper precautions to stay safe while helping you give birth.

While there is no universal requirement for a C-section or taking any extra medications if you have COVID-19, healthcare providers worldwide have different requirements for this. Therefore it’s advisable to check with your doctor and healthcare provider. The chances of transmitting COVID-19 to your baby during delivery are slim. Your health care team will lay out a plan that's tailored to your specific condition and the severity of COVID-19 disease.

Can you transmit COVID-19 through breastfeeding?

There is currently no data to support the claim that corona can be transmitted through breastfeeding. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is not present in breast milk. Therefore, it is very unlikely that your breastfeeding child would catch corona from the milk itself.

Moreover, you should keep in mind that breastfeeding is extremely essential for young infants to develop immunity. If you have COVID-19 and you want to breastfeed, then you can do it while wearing a mask and taking disinfection measures into consideration.

What happens if my newborn catches corona?

According to the CDC, current evidence shows that newborns are unlikely to catch COVID-19 if proper precautions are followed. Those who do catch the virus are more likely to be symptomatic or just have very mild symptoms. So, hopefully, your new baby is safe.

Symptoms of COVID-19 infection in newborns include decreased energy, abnormal feeding, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, coughing, and rapid forced breathing. If your newborn shows any of these signs, you should call your pediatrician for urgent care to avoid adverse neonatal outcomes.

Can I hold my new baby if I have COVID-19?

If you've recently given birth and are diagnosed with COVID-19, you can still touch your baby and hold them in your arms. Your maternity team will make sure to give you the proper instructions to deal with your baby.

You just need to take proper precautions, like wearing a mask, gloves, and a protective robe to prevent transmitting the infection to your newborn.

In any case, newborns don't seem to be very susceptible to COVID-19 infections, and most end up developing no or mild symptoms. It is important that you keep close contact with your newborn child and breastfeed them as needed. Breast milk is essential to develop your baby's immunity and is unlikely to transmit corona.

How can you protect yourself against COVID-19 if you are pregnant?

There are a few measures you can take if you are pregnant and want to avoid getting infected with corona. Here's what you can do:

  • Get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccination is safe and protective to pregnant people.
  • Wear a mask in public and crowded places
  • Avoid close physical contact with other individuals
  • Frequently disinfect or wash your hands

Precaution measures in pregnancy are similar to those in non-pregnant patients. If you follow them, you should hopefully have a healthy and uneventful pregnancy.

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About the Author:
Dr. Mersad is a medical doctor, author, and editor based in Germany. He's managed to publish several research papers early in his career. He is passionate about spreading medical knowledge. Thus, he spends a big portion of his time writing educational articles for everyone to learn.

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