It’s supposed to be a magical experience: A new baby on the way and a new life to nurture, love and see prosper. However, with a pandemic upon us draining health system resources, the welcoming of a new baby with a vulnerable immune system in the midst of COVID-19 may be a nightmare scenario for most moms and new parents.
So, what can an expectant mother do and what are the risks?
Because COVID-19 is a new virus, there are no published scientific reports on whether pregnant women are more susceptible than the general population. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, though, that pregnant women have weakened immune systems and may be more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19.
Based on data from previous coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS, some experts believe pregnant women may be at higher risk for severe illness and death, but that data is limited and inconclusive.
For now, neither the CDC nor the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends any specific guidance for pregnant women beyond what’s recommended to the general public.
“Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections, but we currently do not know they have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19,” said Dr. Chad Ray, the interim section chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. “As we continue to learn more about this virus, pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infections.”
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, Ray suggest the following actions:
- Cough into your elbow
- Avoid people who are sick
- Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Get more information on preventing COVID-19 disease from the CDC.
There are a lot of questions that still need to be answered and if you are a journalist covering this topic, then let our experts help.
Ray is an expert in the areas of maternal mortality, global women’s health initiatives, and workforce solutions for women’s health. He is available to speak with media regarding this important topic; simply click on his name to arrange an interview.
Please continue to check our COVID-19 resource page for updates.