Pregnant women aren’t considered at higher risk for getting the coronavirus, but it raises other concerns about a safe delivery.
KERA’s Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Emily Adhikari. She’s an assistant professor in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department of UT Southwestern Medical Center, and medical director of Perinatal Infectious Disease, Parkland Health and Hospital System.
They began with whether it’s possible for coronavirus to pass from mother to infant.
Can The Virus Pass From Mother To Child?
A few cases have been reported. And so we don't have all the information. We need to know how likely and at what point in time that virus might pass to the infant. But what we know now is that it doesn't seem to be likely to pass, and it doesn't seem to be likely to cause major pregnancy complications to the baby specifically. And so that's a good thing.
Possible Complications From The Virus:
- In some cases when infected, we do worry, particularly in women who are later in pregnancy, about her respiratory reserve and ability for a woman to compensate.
- When she gets sick, similar to influenza, we think that the virus causes similar types of illness, and then in a smaller proportion can cause severe pulmonary illness.
Changes At Parkland To Keep Mothers And Infants Safe During Labor And Delivery:
- All staff, patients and visitors have to wear masks in our hospital. There are temperature screens. We ask about symptoms or recent diagnoses so that we can understand who is entering the premises second for labor and delivery.
- We test all women who are admitted to our labor and delivery unit, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic.
- Finally, we, we limit the number of people who come into the hospital to visit for safety reasons. That’s because we don't have the ability to test all the visitors and the more people who come into and out of the hospital from a patient's room, the higher the risk.
For Pregnant Women Who Have The Virus:
We make sure that our staff are protected, but also that we can limit the number of people that go into and out of rooms to minimize the risk of increased exposures. And then we are all using personal protective equipment and we make sure that we communicate with all of the different team members who need to be able to protect themselves.
Should A Pregnant Woman Be Concerned About Having A Child During The Pandemic?
It is possible to maintain safety for the women who really need to come into the clinic and get prenatal care and then later come into the hospital and have their babies. The decision to have a child is a very personal one, but there are ways we can adapt and make that safe for women and still have a very positive experience.
KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.