In the current coronavirus pandemic, there are many doubts that assail us every day. We are facing a new virus that we do not know well and it is logical that we are concerned not knowing how it can affect us. This is especially worrisome for pregnant women. What happens if coronavirus and pregnancy are combined?
Can a pregnant woman transmit the virus to her child? Can the virus affect the unborn baby? Can the mother’s infection cause an abortion? Can coronavirus treatments affect pregnancy? We tell you everything you need to know about coronavirus and pregnancy.
Pregnant women are a vulnerable population group that must be protected. However, so far, no evidence has been found that they are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.
For starters, what is a coronavirus and how does it work?
The coronavirus causing the current COVID-19 pandemic is the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 and since then it has spread to the whole world until it reaches us.
The main symptoms of infection with this coronavirus are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, many other different symptoms have been detected that can appear in infected patients, such as loss of smell and taste, muscle pain, general tiredness, etc.
There are many cases of asymptomatic people, but in others, the infection can lead to severe pneumonia or other more serious complications. This, together with the high propagation capacity of the virus, makes it necessary to take special measures to prevent contagion in the most vulnerable groups.
The elemental form of transmission is from person to person, through respiratory droplets. For this reason, the main protection and prevention measures focus on hand hygiene, the use of masks and the disinfection of objects.
Above all, it is important to know that the studies that exist regarding the effects of the virus are limited, both due to the short study period and the small number of patients. It is still too early to know the long-term effects and possible consequences of the infection. Therefore, we must be cautious and exercise caution.
Coronavirus and pregnancy
Until today, pregnant women have not been found to be particularly susceptible to the spread of the virus or its complications. This has been seen, however, in other groups, such as the elderly or those affected by other pathologies such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.
However, pregnant women are still a vulnerable population group that must be controlled and cared for especially. During pregnancy, many physiological, hormonal, and immune changes occur that can predispose or even protect from infection.
After the experience of the coronavirus outbreak in China, some studies have been published on pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Although the population sample is small, the symptoms detected in pregnant women have been similar to those of other patients.
However, in some of the newborns, loss of fetal well-being or respiratory distress was detected. Most of the mothers studied had premature deliveries and caesarean sections.
So far, there is no evidence of vertical transmission between mother and fetus. The isolated cases of newborn babies who have tested positive for coronavirus are believed to be due to contagion during the first hours of life.
The same goes for breastfeeding. The scientific studies have not shown that the virus passes into breast milk, the main route of infection closeness between mother and child during breastfeeding.
Regarding the treatment of the coronavirus in pregnant patients, it should be controlled by the health services. Both the pregnant woman and the fetus must be watched by a team of professionals who have adequate support to face any unforeseen event, if necessary.
About coronavirus and pregnancy
Pregnant women are a vulnerable population group that must be specially protected. However, so far, no evidence has been detected that pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus causing the current pandemic due to COVID-19.
It is important to maintain hygienic preventive measures, such as the safety distance, frequent hand washing and the use of masks. Therefore, before any suspicion, the health services should be consulted and their recommendations followed.