Wednesday 5 August, 2020

No increased concerns for pregnant woman from coronavirus

"Based on current evidence, we don’t believe that babies born to women who test positive for coronavirus should be separated." (Photo: Delmaine Donson/iStock)

"Based on current evidence, we don’t believe that babies born to women who test positive for coronavirus should be separated." (Photo: Delmaine Donson/iStock)

Many Jamaicans are concerned about protecting themselves from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

But, what about the unborn? A pregnant mother is not only protecting herself but, her child as well.

A few years ago, when the Zika virus was more prominent, there were major concerns with pregnancy and the high risk of microcephaly.

However, though the coronavirus is spreading globally at a rapid pace, for expectant mothers there’s no obvious cause for concern.

Dr Tiffany Hunter-Greaves, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, is confident that pregnant women need not worry about their unborn child.

“It’s a very rare [scenario] and as far as I know, not a standard vertical transmission,” Dr Hunter-Greaves told Loop Lifestyle.

She advised that she is presently reviewing a report from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists that ruled out the probability of a child in utero contracting the virus.

But Dr Greaves warned that this may change as is the nature of diseases.

However, she urged that everyone take the usual precautions by reporting related symptoms to the public health line.

Loop Lifestyle did some investigating of our own and found some recommendations from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection in Pregnancy Information for healthcare professionals, published on March 9 by the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists.

For women who are advised to self-isolate, the guidance currently recommends to:

• Not go to school, work, NHS settings or public areas

• Not use public transport

• Stay at home and not allow visitors

• Ventilate the rooms where they are by opening a window

• Separate themselves from other members of their household as far as possible, using their own towels, crockery and utensils and eating at different times

• Use friends, family or delivery services to run errands, but advise them to leave items outside

For more in-depth information, you can find said guidance here.

Digital marketer Shanique Thomas was busy planning a trip overseas during the Easter weekend, but has since cancelled those plans out of sheer safety concerns.

“I was actually supposed to fly out for the Easter Weekend. Because of the second confirmed case, I decided that travelling now is definitely a no-no.”

Visiting her doctor regularly for check-ups, “sharing” her immune system with her unborn, stocking up on prenatal vitamins, baby formula, etc and travelling to and fro Kingston daily for work/errands are what she considers “major concerns”.

Here’s another post from The Guardian ruling out the risks of mother-to-feotus transmission.

Professor Russell Viner, president of The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:

Based on current evidence, we don’t believe that babies born to women who test positive for coronavirus should be separated.

The impact of this separation, even as a precaution, can be significant on both the baby and the mother.

There is also limited evidence about the transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk – and based on what we know now, we feel the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks.

Presently there is one reported case of a woman with COVID-19 who required mechanical ventilation at 30 weeks’ gestation, following which she had an emergency caesarean section and made a good recovery.

There are currently no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to COVID-19.

Case reports from early pregnancy studies with SARS and MERS do not demonstrate a convincing relationship between infection and increased risk of miscarriage or second-trimester loss.

Source: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: