ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While much of the data on the effects of COVID-19 on pregnant women is inconclusive, the Centers of Disease Control does report that women who are pregnant do experience immunologic and physiologic changes which may make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections which does include COVID-19. According to Presbyterian Healthcare Services, there is at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 in a pregnant woman in New Mexico.
Q: Are pregnant women more susceptible to COVID-19 infection than the general public?
The CDC reports that there is not enough information from published scientific reports regarding pregnant women’s susceptibility to COVID-19. However, pregnant women do experience physiologic and immune system changes that may make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections.
“Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is insufficient data to say if pregnant women are at a higher risk for becoming infected, but we want to take every precaution necessary to protect expecting moms and their unborn child,” said Dr. Jeff Salvon Harmon, chief patient safety officer of Presbyterian Healthcare Services in a statement.
The CDC encourages pregnant women to take usual precautions such as washing their hands frequently and to avoid individuals who are sick.
Q: Can pregnant women who are infected with COVID-19 transmit the virus to their unborn child or newborn?
There is limited information regarding the transmission of COVID-19 from a mother to a fetus or newborn infant. The CDC states that in a recent case series that was published in a peer-reviewed journal of infants who were born to mothers with COVID-19, none of the infants tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, the virus was not detected in amniotic fluid samples.
The CDC reports there is limited information regarding vertical transmission from other coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. Vertical transmission refers to the transmission of a pathogen from a mother to her child either before, during, or immediately after delivery.
At this time, the CDC states that vertical transmission has not been reported for these infections.
Q: If a mother is infected with COVID-19 should she breastfeed her baby?
The CDC states there is no available information on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through breastmilk. Citing limited information provided by a case series, there has been no evidence of the virus in breastmilk from women who have COVID-19.
Recalling limited reports of lactating women with SARS-CoV, the CDC states that while the virus was not transmitted through breast milk, antibodies against SARS-CoV were identified in at least one sample.
Clarification: The World Health Organization cites the official names of coronavirus disease as COVID-19 while the virus is called SARS-CoV-2 or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. SARS-CoV is the virus that caused an outbreak in 2002-2003.
-Presbyterian Healthcare Services
-Perinatal Associates of New Mexico
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
-World Health Organization