Pregnant During a Pandemic: What We Know

While pregnant women are not considered at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus, it is worthwhile to understand how to ensure a safe delivery—and how to be a pregnant or a working mother during a pandemic.

One article from KERA News confirmed that pregnant women are not necessarily at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus, but the virus raises questions about a safe delivery and how that mother can work, or enter maternity leave, in the pandemic.

Dr. Emily Adhikari is an assistant professor in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department of UT Southwestern Medical Center, and medical director of Perinatal Infectious Disease, Parkland Health and Hospital System.

She helped KERA answer the following common questions:

Can the virus pass from mother to child?

A few cases have been reported. However, scientists still need much more information to understand how and when the virus was passed to the infant. Scientists say that the possibility does not seem likely at this time, and it does not seem to likely cause pregnancy complications to the baby specifically.

There are some possible complications from the virus scientists wanted to mention: scientists do worry about an infected woman if she is later in pregnancy. The virus can affect her respiratory reserve and ability for the woman to compensate.

Second, when the gets sick, scientists think the does have a small change of causing pulmonary illness for the mother.

What measures are being taken at hospitals?

For Parkland Hospital, for example, the following precautions are taken:

  • All staff, patients and visitors have to wear masks in the hospital. There are temperature screens. We ask about symptoms or recent diagnoses so that we can understand who is entering the premises second for labor and delivery.
  • All women who are admitted to the labor and delivery unit are tested, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic.
  • Finally, the hospital limits the number of people who come into the hospital to visit for safety reasons. This is because the hospital does not have the ability to test all the visitors, and the more people who come into and out of the hospital from a patient’s room, the higher the risk.

Should a pregnant woman be concerned about having a child during the pandemic?

While there is increased risk for women who must come into the hospital for regular checkups and delivery, the scientists ensure women that it is possible to do so safely and smartly. Unfortunately, there is not much science yet about the possibility of a mother passing the virus to the child and what following implications there might be. The coronavirus pandemic has allowed many parents to spend more time at home with newborn children. It has also been a stressful time to have a child, as job security is uncertain, social distancing is still encouraged and women are likely more exposed to the virus from continual doctors and hospital visits.

Here are a handful of more resources regarding pregnant women and the coronavirus.

General guidance for pregnant women, mothers, and their newborns during the pandemic

Agonizing Lack in Coronavirus Research Puts Pregnant Women and Babies at Risk

The Surprising Benefits of Being Pregnant in a Pandemic

Experts offer advice for pregnancy, birth in a pandemic

Caring for Women Who Are Planning a Pregnancy, Pregnant, or Postpartum During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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