How does COVID-19 Affect Pregnant Women?

April 9, 2020 misdean Blog

How does COVID-19 Affect Pregnant Women?

Center Insights Blog
Sandy Christiansen
Care-Net Resource

Mar 30 2020

Your Pregnancy center is going to receive calls from pregnant women who fear they have-or may contract this dreaded virus. First, it is vital that they receive referrals to medical professionals who are equipped to provide advice and treatment. Pregnancy centers can play an important role in three ways:

  1. Provide a compassionate listening ear and offer spiritual support.
  2. Provide timely referrals to community support and medical care.
  3. Provide fact-based information, not medical advice. 

You may be tired of hearing “so little is known about COVID-19 infection,” but this is our current reality.

If you are pregnant and have been infected or think you might be infected with COVID-19, it is important to talk with your doctor about how it may affect you and your baby. There is still so much that is unknown about this virus, but preliminary reports are encouraging.

What should pregnant women know about COVID-19?

  • Pregnancy makes women more susceptible to some infections, including flu viruses. In general, pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications from the flu. 
  • However, currently, it is not known if pregnant women are more likely to get sick from COVID-19 compared to other people or whether they will get more severe cases.

Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?

We do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.

Can pregnant women pass the virus on to their baby?

  • There have been limited reports of women who had COVID-19 and the virus was not found in the amniotic fluid or breast milk, but it is not known for certain if pregnant women can pass the virus on to their unborn baby. 

Can a mother who is sick with COVID-19 still breastfeed her infant?

Much is unknown about this virus, but we do know that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. Discuss this with your doctor to make the best decision. Mothers should do what they can to avoid spreading the virus to the infant: wear a face mask and thoroughly wash hands before touching the baby while nursing.

What can I tell a pregnant woman who thinks she should get an abortion because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

This is such an uncertain time for everyone and it can make even normal parts of life feel risky. What do you know about this virus and pregnancy? May I share some information with you? [share the above talking points]. 

While a lot is still unknown about how this virus may impact a woman’s pregnancy, it is also unknown how an abortion could adversely affect a woman who contracts this illness. 

It is important to make a decision that you can live with long-term and not one based out of fear. Consult with a physician and get all the facts.

Endnotes

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html

https://www.ajronline.org/doi/full/10.2214/AJR.20.23072 

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30176-6/fulltext

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32180426 ]