COVID-19 and Impact on Pregnancy
COVID-19 and the impact on pregnancy is still evolving. What we do know is that we have the experience of the last year with countless documented infections during pregnancy (and possibly even more cases not documented). When we think about impact we consider short term: egg, sperm and embryo, medium term (COVID infection during pregnancy and delivery) and of course, the truly unanswerable – effects on the human that was being incubated during exposure.
Current data suggests that SARS-COV-2 does not infect eggs, sperm or embryo. It is different then Zika which we believed could infect at the gamete level.
COVID-19 Symptoms in Pregnancy
Data collected over this year has demonstrated that pregnant women (all trimesters) are less likely to have the symptoms of their non-pregnant age-matched counterparts. Fever and myalgia (muscle pain) were both less frequent and less severe. However, pregnant women were more susceptible to illness rendering the need for ICU admission. The women with the greatest susceptibility for severe illness and thus, ICU admission, bore the greatest co-morbidities. These other conditions included: advanced age and higher body mass index (BMI). The risk of death remained rare in pregnant vs non-pregnant women of the same age range (1.5 vs 1.2 per 1000 cases).
Can Newborns Get COVID-19?
Risks of the newborn born to COVID-19+ mothers is not known. We do know that infections being passed from infected mother to baby is uncommon. Of the newborns tested positive shortly after birth, it is unclear if the time of viral exposure is before, during or just after birth or contact with an infected period. Of the newborns who test positive, few have symptoms; most babies have mild or no symptoms at all. The current evidence suggests that breast milk is an unlikely source of viral spread.
Should Pregnant Women Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Prevention, as always is key. Pregnant women in the United States are being given the option for the novel COVID-19 vaccine. Although pregnant women were excluded from the vaccine clinical trials as they have been performed, the CDC has stated that “the mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19” and “are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant” The CDC also added that mRNA vaccines “are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant,” the CDC added.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to speak with your physician on the best direction to take for your individual needs.