The COVID-19 outbreak has raised concerns about possible risks for pregnant women. Authorities, however, cannot yet ascertain the full impact of COVID-19 on them due to a lack of comprehensive scientific data on the matter. However, according to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women may be more susceptible to COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections compared to the general population because they undergo immunologic and physiologic changes. Citing the effect of other related coronavirus and viral respiratory infections during pregnancy, the CDC states that expecting mothers may be at risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality compared to the general population.
Dr. Desislava Markova, Lead Fetal Medicine, IVI Fetal Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi, suggests the following precautions for pregnant women:
- Like any other individual, a pregnant woman should also take the necessary precautions to reduce her chance of getting infected not just by COVID-19 but by other illnesses as well. We strongly advise them to apply the basic protection measures such as washing their hands with soap and water more frequently, using alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and avoiding crowded places and sick people to protect themselves and the health of their babies and that of their families.
- Apart from regular and thorough hand washing, steering clear of crowded areas, and avoiding close contact with people who are coughing and sneezing, pregnant women are also advised to refrain from visiting places with confirmed COVID-19 cases to lessen their chance of exposure to an infected person.
- Equally important is to not panic. Always keep themselves informed of the latest news and development about COVID-19 and avoid spreading rumours and unverified information. Authorities are working hard to contain the virus and we should also do our part to stop it from further spreading. For pregnant women, they should be in constant communication with their doctors to know how to better protect themselves amidst the outbreak.