Pregnant women and women who just gave birth together with their babies are an exposed part of the population when it comes to any disease, due to their frail immune system and the restrictions they have with taking medication. The concern may go over the roof when the condition they are confronting is as new, mysterious, and dangerous as coronavirus.
UK officials at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Royal College of Midwives, and the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health have come with some reassuring answers for the pregnant women and fresh mommies. Still, their conclusions must be treated with consideration for the information gaps existing because of the novelty of the disease.
The officials say that pregnant women aren’t endangered to developing more severe symptoms than the rest of the population. Neither is their fetuses, as there is no evidence, so far, that the virus can be passed to the baby.
To come with this statement, officials analyzed reports based on the situation in China, where 8% of the 147 pregnant women that were infected with COVID-19 had severe symptoms. Only 1% became critically ill—a single case required mechanical ventilation.
Pregnant women and COVID-19, the novel coronavirus
There is a grey area, a vagueness about what happens to pregnant women infected with the COVID-19 virus. In the infected cases, the amniotic fluid, cord blood, and breast milk samples tested negative for the virus. The throat swab on their child after birth also tested negative.
The officials conclude that the immediate risk is low for healthy pregnant women. Still, those with underlying health issues such as diabetes or lupus are highly exposed to risks, so they must keep themselves even more protected from to possibility of contracting the virus.
Also, mothers with just born babies shouldn’t be separated, and breastfeeding shouldn’t be stopped. The former virus, SARS, didn’t pass the milk barrier, and COVID-19 seems and is expected to behave the same.
“Based on current evidence, we don’t believe that babies born to women who test positive for coronavirus should be separated. We will review this recommendation as we see more evidence in the weeks and months ahead,” said Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health.
The possibility of the high fever causing congenital disabilities was also rejected, as were pregnancy loss through miscarriages and stillbirths related to the other coronaviruses, SARS and MERS. Although their statements and recommendations are soothing, an important thing must be kept in mind: everything they say is based on the things they know so far about COVID-19 and the disease it causes, coronavirus.