Should I be worried about getting seriously ill from coronavirus?
According to the UK government, pregnant women are considered clinically vulnerable people, which means they should be especially careful in following advice on social distancing and staying at home as much as possible. But are expecting mothers more at risk of getting coronavirus? Will the child be at risk of catching the virus in the womb if the mother is diagnosed with it? And what are the effects this new disease will have on the new-born baby?
Unfortunately, as we’re just beginning to learn about the virus, many questions still remain unanswered.
According to the NHS, “There’s no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus […] but because it’s a new virus, it’s safer to include pregnant women in the moderate-risk group.”
A study published on May 11th, 2020 has shown that of 427 women admitted to the hospital when pregnant and infected with coronavirus, only 1 in 10 required intensive care. Although the size of this study is very limited, some factors were identified that posed pregnant women more at risk of being admitted to the hospital with coronavirus:
- Being in the third trimester of pregnancy
- Being from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds
- Being over the age of 35
- Being overweight or obese
- Having pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes
Although across the world adverse infant outcomes, such as preterm birth, have been reported among infants born to mothers positive for COVID-19 during pregnancy, the information is based on limited data and it is considered unlikely for the virus to cause problems with the baby’s development. Further evidence also suggests the probability of vertical transmission from a woman to the baby is low.