With COVID-19 rocking our nation and the ongoing challenge of trying to learn as much as we can about the disease, pregnant women, and those giving birth or those who have just given birth are living in fear of a disease we still don’t know all that much about. Am I more susceptible to it because I’m pregnant? Are hospital births still the safest way to deliver my baby even with the increased risk of infection? Will my baby be ok? These are all just SOME of the questions I am sure most expectant or new mothers have. So we have decided to dedicate this article on sharing a little more knowledge on what we do know about COVID-19 and its potential effects on both pregnant women & newborns.
We know that the health of the placenta during pregnancy is VERY important, as it’s key role is to provide oxygen and nutrients to the growing fetus, while also removing waste. Thus there was a small study conducted on pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19. This study included 16 women and included exams done of the placenta directly following childbirth. It was found that these women did have some injury to the placenta due to being infected with the Nova Corona Virus. Such injury included insufficient blood flow through the placenta from the mother to the fetus, as well as blood clots in the placenta.
Although this was just a small study was done and more research and documentation is needed to fully understand the effects of this virus on pregnant women and their unborn babies, this info does shine some light into the unknown effects of this virus.
It does however present the question, Do we change how we monitor pregnant women to include measuring the delivery of oxygen to the placenta, more ultrasounds. But the problem with this is that more screening and tests tend to pose their own set of consequences themselves.
We do know that the study into COVID_19 and its effects on pregnant women and children is just beginning. We also know that while there have been negative side effects on the placenta caused by the disease, we also know that the infants born with these placentas all were healthy, full-term, completely “normal” babies. We also can pretty safely say that other viral infections have posed more threats to infants than COVID_19 has shown so far. That does not mean we are out of the woods yet, or that pregnant and new mothers/infants should be extra cautious and limit contact with others, wash hands regularly and wear a mask should you need to leave your house.