CDC: Pregnant women more likely to see serious side effects from COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released results of a new study that shows pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to see serious side effects than other women in their age group.

Dr. Cherrie Morris, an OB-GYN with Lee Health, said she’s hoping the connection will encourage her pregnant patients to follow their advice and safely get through the pandemic.

“If your job allows it and you can make it work for your family, try to isolate that last month of the pregnancy – that’s what we prefer that you do,” Morris said.

That advice is now more valuable than ever. The CDC said that since January, more than 10,000 pregnant women have tested positive for COVID-19, more than 3,000 were hospitalized and 30 died.

How the virus impacts the pregnancy itself is something they don’t know yet, said Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director of infectious diseases at the CDC.

“We are collecting additional information, and we’re working to find out if COVID-19 is associated with pregnancy complications,” he said.

One reason we don’t have a lot of answers yet: timing.

“Pregnancy’s nine months, so we don’t have a lot of data that we need given where we are in the outbreak,” said Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, OB-GYN.

While we wait for more answers, “We need to do everything that we can to keep pregnant women and anybody from getting infected – and that’s by doing and following all the CDC guidelines,” Morris said. “So wearing your mask in public, being around other people, making sure they’re wearing their masks, social distancing.”

So far, studies haven’t found that the coronavirus passes to the baby from the womb or through breastmilk, but doctors say mothers who have tested positive should wear masks around their newborns.

More from Dr. Cherrie Morris: “Of, course it is better not to get infected at all during pregnancy. However, having symptomatic COVID during labor and delivery is not ideal! Also, a new mom would not want to have covid while trying to care for and nurse her newborn. If the mom can minimize her risk for getting exposed to the virus in the last month of pregnancy and therefore less likely to have COVID when she delivers, the better for her and her newborn. The CDC does list recommendations for newborns born to mothers with confirmed/suspected COVID-19. These include: temporary separation is to be considered (mom will need to pump and another caregiver, not infected will need to feed the baby) and if not separated: wearing a mask within 6ft of her baby, this includes while nursing, meticulous hand washing and keeping the baby at least 6 feet from the mother when possible.”

Statement from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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