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Are pregnant women more at risk for COVID-19?

"We’re learning everyday, we don’t know that much because we don’t have that much data."

MIDLAND, Texas — We asked our NewsWest 9 viewers questions they have about the Coronavirus and one of the most popular questions was how does the virus impact pregnant people?

We know that the COVID-19 impacts older people and people with chronic illness but there have not been any published reports on how the virus affects pregnant women.

“Anything I’m saying today might change," said Dr. Gary Madden with Midland Women's Health. "We’re learning everyday...we don’t know that much because we don’t have that much data.”

The CDC does not know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public, nor do they know if they are more likely to have a serious illness as a result.

“The good news, so far, is it doesn’t seem to be going to pregnant women more," Madden said.  "For whatever reason the virus prefers older people and men compared to pregnant women.”

The CDC says there have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery in babies born to mothers who tested positive for the virus.

“Several pregnant women have caught the virus, they haven’t gotten unusually sick," Madden said. "No pregnant women have died or children."

Madden says it is not like the regular flu where we see it more often in children and pregnant women. We also do not know yet if the coronavirus can be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus.

“Anyone getting sick or having a high fever that is going to increase your chance of miscarriage," Madden said. "So far the virus has not shown that the it can go into the bloodstream of a baby with an affected mother and it’s not been shown to be in breast milk.”

But it is another story if mother’s with the virus give birth.

“That baby is not going to have antibodies if the mommy is delivering in an affected state," Madden said. "The mommy would have to be quarantined including from her baby.”

Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection:

  • Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique)
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Clean your hands often using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or with soap and water

And with all these cancellations, in 9-10 months Dr. Madden anticipates we will see a baby boom. 

"Everyone is sitting at home, they're not watching basketball, the masters" Madden said. "They're staying at home quarantined and we're going to have more pregnancies."

For more information on the virus and pregnancy click here.


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