COVID-19 and Pregnancy

As published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 29, 2020 

Although additional data are needed to further understand these observed elevated risks, pregnant women should be made aware of their potential risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Pregnant women and their families should take measures to ensure their health and prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Specific actions pregnant women can take include not skipping prenatal care appointments, limiting interactions with other people as much as possible, taking precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 when interacting with others, having at least a 30-day supply of medicines, and talking to their healthcare provider about how to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce severe outcomes from COVID-19 among pregnant women, measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection should be emphasized, and potential barriers to the ability to adhere to these measures need to be addressed. 

Despite worse symptoms seen in pregnant women with COVID-19, there was no difference in the risk of death between pregnant and nonpregnant women with COVID-19. Deaths occurred in 0.2% of both groups. 

This finding roughly matches that of a recent peer-reviewed study published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal, which also reported similar news regarding COVID-19 pregnancy mortality rates. 

As published by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, April 2020 

Currently, there is no definitive data on the impact of the COVID-19 on fertility, pregnancy, childbirth or transmission of disease to newborns. We simply do not know and cannot verify that there is no impact or any specific impact on pregnancy, fetuses or neonates. 

  • There is currently no scientific evidence showing that COVID-19 is transmitted to or carried by oocytes (eggs) or sperm.
  • There is very little research on a pregnant woman’s susceptibility to catching COVID-19. This means that no one can be certain if pregnant women are more likely to contract COVID-19 compared to a non-pregnant adult. In past pandemics, pregnant women were found to be at greater risk for infectious processes (due to the physiologic and immunologic changes of pregnancy) which may pose risks including birth defects, miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm birth.
  • There is little research (and no verified data) on pregnancy and COVID-19. The few studies available are limited to the impact of COVID-19 on women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. There is very limited information on how COVID-19 affects women and unborn children in the first trimester of pregnancy. Further, there may not be any significant data on pregnancy and COVID-19 soon as all information takes time to collect and evaluate. There is no current approved treatment (medication) for COVID-19, and if a pregnant woman gets COVID- 19, the current medication used to provide compassionate care to patients afflicted with COVID- 19 is contraindicated for use in pregnancy.
  • There is very little information on the transmission of COVID-19 to fetuses. The small amount of data reported out of Wuhan, China and New York does not show any definitive evidence of intrauterine fetal infections with COVID-19; therefore, it is believed that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to a fetus in utero is low or non-existent. Reported cases (3) of infected newborns have fortunately had good recoveries, although how they were infected is still not clear. However, an infected mother can transmit the virus to her infant after birth through respiratory droplets. While breast feeding is still possible; masks and hand hygiene are essential. Some hospitals are restricting partners at deliveries and (except for breastfeeding) using social distancing between mothers and newborns is advocated in some areas. Even greater restrictions may apply if the mother becomes infected.