Pregnant women and Coronavirus – Coronovirus  in Pregnancy

‘Coronavirus in Pregnancy’ is a concern for many pregnant women but the good news is that you do not appear to be more susceptible to severe Covid-19 symptoms.

I know that you have many concerns about your health when pregnant and the impact that will have on your growing baby. Along with the flu, Zika virus and now coronavirus, this only adds to your worrying.

You should follow all guidelines provided and it is advised that pregnant women are to avoid all non-essential overseas travel and to report early symptoms to their midwife, obstetrician or GP.

RCOG Guidelines for Coronavirus in Pregnancy

According to new guidance issued by the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), pregnant women do not appear to be more susceptible to the consequences of coronavirus than the general population and there is no evidence it can be passed from mum to baby during pregnancy,

Also, there is no current evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage.

The RCOG guidance is based on early studies including a WHO report using data from 147 pregnant women, which included 64 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 82 suspected cases and one asymptomatic case.

Pregnant women and Coronavirus: Coronovirus  in Pregnancy

The study showed that eight per cent had severe symptoms while just one per cent were critically ill.

Dr Edward Morris, President of the RCOG said:

“This guidance has been written to ensure maternity units across the country are providing consistent and safe care to pregnant women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection, and that every effort is taken to minimise the potential spread of the infection to medical staff or other patients.”

According to RCOG, it is expected that the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms.

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

“There was also no evidence to suggest that babies born to mothers 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.”

RANZCOG Guidelines for Coronavirus in Pregnancy

Current advice from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) is that while detailed information on the impact of COVID-19 infection on pregnant women and their babies is limited, guidance is based around knowledge from influenza infection and the medical response to the SARS epidemic of 2003.

“Influenza is a potentially serious disease for pregnant women, the fetus and newborn babies,” RANZCOG note, explaining that a number of changes occur to a woman’s body during pregnancy. “These changes include reduced lung function, increased cardiac output, increased oxygen consumption, and changes to the immune system.” As such pregnant women have an increased risk of severe complications from influenza and are more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital with influenza than the general population.”

Mother to Baby Transmission of Coronavirus

RANZCOG also highlights the recent Lancet study of 19 pregnant women infected with COVID-19, which found no evidence of mum-to-baby transmission, calling the finding “reassuring” despite the small number of women studied.

RANZCOG advises the following preventative measures for pregnant women:

  • Avoidance of anyone who is coughing and sneezing.
  • Hand washing regularly.
  • Frequent using an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Early reporting of symptoms and prompt access to appropriate treatment.

Takeaway

There’s no need to panic. If you show any symptoms of coronavirus, as with the flu, please consult your health care professional.