WebMD News Brief

Being Pregnant Doesn’t Increase COVID-19 Risk

pregnant woman

June 7, 2020 - Doctors have been concerned about the coronavirus and potential risks for pregnant women and newborns, but so far, there doesn’t appear to be an increased risk for severe disease, according to a new article published Saturday in the medical journal JAMA.

There is still limited data, the co-authors wrote, and woman planning a pregnancy might ask their doctors whether they should delay.

“Based on limited data, there does not seem to be a compelling reason to recommend delaying pregnancy,” said the authors at the University of Florida and Emory University in Georgia.

“For women who are pregnant, the primary recommendation is to avoid becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 through hygiene and social distancing measures,” they wrote.

Researchers are beginning to analyze data about pregnant women and COVID-19 in the U.S. According to data in New York City, the proportion of pregnant women with COVID-19, as well as those who had severe consequences, are similar to the rates in nonpregnant women.

In most newborns tested for COVID-19 after birth, the results were negative, they wrote. However, some newborns have tested positive, and researchers are studying whether the transmission occurred before, during or after birth. They’re studying breast milk as well.

“Given the benefits of breast milk, when feasible, breast milk should be fed to infants regardless of maternal COVID-19 status,” the authors wrote.At hospitals, labor and delivery staff can reduce the risk of infection by testing patients during admission in case people have contracted the coronavirus but don’t show symptoms. In addition, pregnant women can wear masks and have single-patient rooms.

Additional data will continue to be released as the pandemic continues, the co-authors wrote, so doctors and pregnant women should follow new updates from professional medical organization and the CDC.

“Information on COVID-19 is changing rapidly,” they wrote. “As additional data becomes available, recommendations might change.”

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on June 08, 2020

Sources

JAMA, “Caring for Women Who Are Planning a Pregnancy, Pregnant, or Postpartum During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

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