How Does COVID-19 Affect Pregnant Women?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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Susceptibility to infection is higher in pregnant women if they are in their third trimester (the end of their pregnancy) or if they have pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or obesity.

Dr. Arockiya Fernando is an obstetrician and gynecologist with more than 15 years of experience. The expert ensures that age is a determining factor and pregnant women over 35 are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The Physiology Society explains that the immune system of pregnant women is naturally weaker, "which puts them at greater risk of bacterial and viral infection."

A pregnant woman is not on an equal footing to fight the virus. This vulnerable state increases the risk of more serious symptoms such as pneumonia.

The organization explains: "Pneumonia affects lung function, and since the developing baby is dependent on the mother's oxygen, the malfunction of the mother's lungs will affect the amount of oxygen the baby receives. It is recommended that pregnant women practice social distancing to protect themselves and their babies. "

Does COVID-19 affect pregnant women like other types of coronavirus and respiratory diseases?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that "pregnant women should be considered a population at risk for COVID-19. Adverse infant outcomes (e.g., preterm delivery) have been reported among babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers during the pregnancy”.

Also read: Should I breastfeed my baby in pandemic times?

Can a mother become infected with COVID-19 transmit the virus to her fetus?

A study published by Harvard Health on cases of pregnant women with COVID-19 and giving birth states that "38 women infected with COVID-19 had newborns that tested negative for the virus."

Why did some babies test positive for COVID-19?

Dr. Arockiya cautions that "the babies have tested positive after delivery, perhaps because they were in contact with the mother or with the health personnel."

The doctor recommends trying to keep stress levels as low as possible. With any mother who has symptoms, he suggests communicating with her healthcare providers preferably by phone and virtually, not in person.

Expectant mothers should protect themselves by washing their hands frequently and in a dedicated manner with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for a minimum of 20 seconds and maintaining a minimum space of 1 meter while communicating with others.

Pregnancy is a time of great joy and anticipation. However, the pandemic has brought a lot of anxiety and concern to many women. Although there are still not enough studies that can show how COVID-19 affects pregnancy, it is clear that a mother with a baby in her womb has a weaker immune system and could not fight the virus like a person who is not pregnant.

Therefore, isolation and following all the measures recommended by the World Health Organization are essential. As long as the mother stays healthy and takes proper care of her baby, she shouldn't worry about the coronavirus. Family support to reduce contact with large numbers of people will help make this time safer.

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