Coronavirus: are pregnant women at increased risk?

In Covid-19 in pregnancy, Standard by Maria Birch

I’m not a doctor or even slightly qualified to advise you about coronavirus.

But at 34 weeks pregnant, I share your concerns, and hope I can do a little to reassure you based on the advice being passed to NHS staff and my own (albeit very subjective) research.

For the most part, my attitude towards coronavirus has been to just get on with it—rather than live in fear—and take extra care of washing my hands, of my health in general, and being stringent with infection control procedures in the NHS and Sneak-A-Peek Ultrasound.

But in the last couple of weeks—as the infection spreads to more people and my pregnancy progresses—I’ve been forced to consider whether to start maternity leave early to avert the risk.

As you undoubtedly know, your immune system changes during pregnancy.

But exactly what happens to your immune system—and the consequences of that—are controversial.

According to the findings of a study published in the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, “the generalisation of pregnancy as a condition of immune suppression or increased risk is misleading and prevents the determination of adequate guidelines for treating pregnant women during pandemics.”

In plain english: being pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean you are at increased risk of contracting coronavirus.

Now, rather than debating why by presenting an extremely dull and long-winded critical analysis of scientific literature, I’ll sum up by answering the question:

Are pregnant women at increased risk from Coronavirus?

Say the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:

“Pregnant women do not appear to be more susceptible to the consequences of coronavirus than the general population. As this is a new virus, how it may affect you is not yet clear. It is expected the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms. There is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage. There is also no evidence that the virus can pass to your developing baby while you are pregnant.”

I won’t share specific articles because they all report on the advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, but most UK media draw the same conclusion:

There’s no evidence that pregnant women are at greater risk than the general population.

Every source does, however, acknowledge that it’s a new virus and there is more to learn about it.

So the advice may change as more evidence is gathered.But for now at least, I hope this helps put your mind at ease a little 🙂

For pregnancy scan info, download a free information kit here:

https://sneak-a-peek-ultrasound.co.uk/

Take care.

Maria.