From: The Stream

What do pregnant women need to know about COVID-19?

Medical experts still do not know if or how COVID-19 uniquely affects expectant mothers.

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at 19:30 GMT:
The coronavirus pandemic is increasing stress and uncertainty for many expectant mothers around the world.

One major reason for this is because health experts “are operating in a data-free zone” when it comes to pregnant women and COVID-19. Research is still pending on whether these women are more susceptible to catching the illness, and if contracting the virus could affect fetal health.

This leaves pregnant essential workers with little information as they grapple with the difficult choice of earning an income or possibly putting their health – and unborn babies – at risk.

Compounding this fear of the unknown are strict social distancing guidelines. This has caused increased mental distress for women who are deprived of the support of loved ones and those who could benefit from helpful birthing and breastfeeding classes.

The pandemic has also complicated family planning issues. Many women wonder whether it is safe to have a baby during this time. Not everyone will have a choice – the United Nations has warned that lockdowns could result in millions of unintended pregnancies, as women in many countries lose access to contraceptives.

From a medical perspective, pre- and post-natal treatments are rapidly evolving to ensure the safest care. In some nations, regular checkups have moved online to prevent unnecessary hospital visits. In these instances, expectant mothers are taught to monitor fetal heartbeats and their own blood pressure – a change that may stick around for years to come.

In this episode we ask, what do pregnant women need to know about the coronavirus?

On this episode of The Stream we are joined by:
Dr Olufemi Oladapo, @oladapo_olufemi
Acting Unit Head, Maternal and Perinatal Health (MPH), World Health Organization
www.who.int/reproductivehealth

Dr Karin Nielsen, @UCLAHealth
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA Children’s Hospital
www.uclahealth.org/karin-nielsen

Dr Lucky Sekhon, @DrLuckySekhon
Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist, Mount Sinai Medical Center
www.rmany.com/our-team/physicians/dr-lucky-sekhon

Read more:
Pregnant Italians on virus-free island told to deliver elsewhere – Al Jazeera
Coronavirus: Health system overload threatens pregnant women and newborns – UN News
What to know about being pregnant during the covid-19 pandemic – Washington Post
Pregnant and worried about the new coronavirus? – Harvard Health