Coronavirus and pregnancy: no increased risk for the baby

As the number of people infected with Covid-19 continues to rise, researchers at Imperial College London wanted to know whether exposure to the virus increased the risk of death for the baby. Their response is reassuring.

The covid-19 epidemic continues to grow across the world and all women who get pregnant during this pandemic are asking the question: “what are the risks for my baby?”. A question that researchers from Imperial college in London (Great Britain) also asked. They therefore followed 4,000 pregnant women with symptoms of Covid-19 or a disease confirmed by PCR test, half of them followed by British doctors and the other half by American doctors.

According to conclusions of this study, published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, all the women monitored gave birth between January-August 2020 and no babies died from Covid-19. There was also no increased risk of stillbirth or low birth weight. However, the study’s findings suggest that there is a higher risk of premature birth.

In UK data, 12% of women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 have given birth prematurely compared to the national average of 7.5%. In US data, 15.7% of women gave birth prematurely compared to the national average of 10%. Researchers speculate that some doctors may have decided to induce some deliveries due to fears about the effects of Covid-19 infection on mother and baby.

Are pregnant women more at risk?

“Unlike the flu which is associated with a higher death rate during pregnancy, pregnant women infected with the coronavirus are not at greater risk of serious complications “, explains Prof. Philippe Deruelle, professor of obstetric gynecology at the University hospitals of Strasbourg. To qualify, however. “However, for those who are infected, and in the event of respiratory distress, then being pregnant is a risk factor in relation to this respiratory distress, explains the gynecologist, before specifying that he is “more complicated to manage respiratory distress in a pregnant woman than in a woman who is not.”

Is there a risk of transmission between mother and baby in utero?

“It is a virus which has no maternal-fetal transmission to my knowledge and which, moreover, is not teratogenic unlike other viruses.”

The main problem that could arise, according to Philippe Deruelle, is that of the separation between the baby and his mother. In the recommendations of the CNGOF (French National College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians) concerning childbirth, it is recommended to separate the mother from her baby in the event of maternal infection. A choice not necessarily justified according to him while infections in children are not necessarily more serious than in adults. “If the number of cases changes, this will obviously pose practical problems, but also ethical ones.”

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