Pregnancy and COVID
The coronavirus has affected many aspects of daily life. It’s also caused us to be extra-careful about our health and the health of our loved ones. It’s no surprise that many parents have concerns about how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and their pregnancy.
Dr. Ketan S. Patel has received a number of questions from people all over Scottsdale and Gilbert, AZ, about COVID and pregnancy. Our fertility clinic takes your health seriously, which is why we want to look at how COVID could impact your pregnancy. We’ll give you facts from trusted medical resources, and then give you advice on keeping yourself and your baby safe during COVID-19 and your pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Health Risks from COVID-19
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women face a heightened risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Severe respiratory illness means there is a greater chance that a pregnant woman will require hospitalization and may even require the use of a ventilator.
This increased risk of severe illness means that pregnant women must exercise additional caution to prevent infection. Friends and family members of pregnant women must similarly be cautious and responsible to reduce the risk of illness.
COVID-19 and Risk of Premature Birth
In addition to an increased risk of severe illness, pregnant women who contract COVID-19 may face a higher risk of premature childbirth.
As of now, there are no current medical findings of the long-term impact of COVID-19 on newborns. In the coming years, we will learn more about this matter.
Can Pregnant Women Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the COVID-19 vaccine for use on women who are pregnant and breastfeeding. This comes with some important caveats, however.
A recent National Public Radio (NPR) article noted that clinical trials for vaccines do not include pregnant women. Researches have great concern for the long-term effects on both the mother and unborn child. As a result, the COVID-19 vaccine has not been tested on pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding, and the effects on pregnancy and fetal health are unknown.
The CDC will allow the use of the vaccine on pregnant women in cases where the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. Ultimately, this choice will need to be made by the mother after she weighs her options and has a discussion with her doctor.
Prenatal Care during the Pandemic
If you are pregnant, you should continue to attend all prenatal care visits. If you have concerns about potential COVID exposure, ask your doctor about virtual prenatal check-ups by phone or using video calls.
During these prenatal appointments, you can ask your doctor about labor and delivery during the pandemic and what to expect. This will help you prepare for delivery.
How to Keep You and Your Baby Safe and Healthy
To prevent COVID-19 exposure and protect your health, we recommend the following:
- Wear a face mask when outside of your home
- Practice social distancing and remain six feet away from anyone outside of your household
- Avoid contact with anyone who has recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19
- Avoid indoor dining, crowded spaces, and gatherings
- Wash your hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer with you
Speak with Our Fertility Specialists
If you live in the Scottsdale area and want to learn more about staying safe and healthy throughout pregnancy, we encourage you to contact our fertility clinic online or call Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health at (480) 946-9900.