Protecting Pregnant Women From Covid-19

Many months into the pandemic, we’re beginning to learn more—and in more detail—about how the Covid-19 is disrupting the health and wellbeing of specific populations. Yet for pregnant women and their unborn children, such information has been inconsistent, inconclusive, and altogether lacking.

In late April, a group of researchers sounded a call to action in the Lancet imploring their peers, and the public health authorities they serve, to fill this glaring knowledge gap. Progress has been made since then, most notably in the form of a study published last week that pronounced it unlikely for the Covid-19 virus to be transmitted from mother to womb. Still, much remains unknown, and in the meantime, vigilance is needed.

While no studies to date have shown that being pregnant increases the risk of Covid-19 infection or, once infected, severe symptoms, reports have started to trickle in that paint a more troubling picture. A case study published by JAMA in late April, for instance, describes a Covid-19 patient who had a spontaneous miscarriage in her second trimester. The placenta tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, prompting the question of whether infection had a role to play in inducing the adverse outcome.

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Originally published on Forbes (June 22, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.