What pregnant women should know about the coronavirus

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When Jen Judson announced her second pregnancy in October 2019, she never imagined her mom wouldn’t be there for the birth, her husband wouldn’t be able to stay in the hospital room with her post-delivery, and that the months leading up to the late April birth would be riveted by anxieties related to a virus no one had heard of. 

She worried about contracting the virus, being separated from her baby after the birth, running out of diapers, and following medical advice that could later be overturned.  

“I’m feeling less in control, more worried, as new data comes in about infected infants and pregnant women, and more worried about the state of our world and country when the baby is born,” Judson told Business Insider in March. 

Lauren McCauley, who’s due in early fall, shared similar anxieties. “I feel like we don’t know enough about this virus; however, what we do know seems to worsen daily,” she told Business Insider. “One moment they are saying pregnant women should be OK, then a week later, the UK is recommending pregnant women stay home for three months.” 

Researchers are doctors are still learning exactly how COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes, affects pregnant women and their future babies. Pregnant women should continue their prenatal appointments, take precautions to protect themselves, and seek support. Here’s what else research and experts suggest as of mid-September. 

Pregnant women are an at-risk population for COVID-19 

Pregnant women are at greater risk of severe morbidity and mortality from other respiratory infections like the flu, so they “should be considered an at-risk population for COVID-19,” according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Still, they don’t seem be especially susceptible to COVID-19 the way age or conditions like lung or heart disease does, Dr. Jane van Dis, an OB-GYN who serves as medical director at the telemedicine network Maven, told Business Insider. 

“While I think pregnant women should practice every degree of social distancing that they can because that is just smart, I don’t think pregnant women should feel a sense of panic,” she said. “We’re just not seeing the data to show that the virus is attacking their immune system in the same way as someone, say, over the age of 70.”

There is a racial disparity, however, with an analysis out of the CDC finding that Black and Hispanic pregnant women seem to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.  

All women and their families should do what they can to protect themselves from the illness. 

That means taking social distancing seriously (van Dis recommends pregnant women have someone else get their groceries, for instance), practicing excellent hygiene, and avoiding anyone who seems sick.

Women should continue their prenatal visits but may consider making some virtual, said van Dis, whose platform digitally connects women to providers including maternal-fetal medicine specialists, midwives, doulas, mental-health providers, lactation consultants and more. 

If pregnant women do get COVID-19, they may be more likely to be hospitalized and can have severe illness 

If pregnant women do get the …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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