Covid-19 and its variants continue to impact day-to-day life for people across the globe. After 19 months of the pandemic most of us in the United States are eager to get back to some semblance of normal. For many that means taking their plans for growing their family off pause and moving forward.
Pregnancy places you in a higher risk category for many conditions, including Covid-19 and its variants. If you are presently trying to conceive or if you’re already pregnant there are some things you need to know about the Covid virus and how it affects pregnant people. Here we share the most recent information on Covid infections and the risks during pregnancy.
Pregnant People Are At Risk for More Severe Covid Illness
While the overall risk of contracting Covid-19 and variants while pregnant is low, those who are pregnant or were recently pregnant are at greater risk for developing much more severe symptoms than their non-pregnant counterparts. Those who are pregnant or recently gave birth and are unvaccinated are likely to develop much more severe Covid infections and require hospitalization.
Pregnancy, in general, makes you more susceptible to respiratory viruses like the one that causes Covid-19, due to changes in the body that may weaken the immune system. It’s vital to your own health and the health of your unborn baby that you take all the recommended steps to protect yourself from the virus.
The Delta variant is particularly savage. Not only is it more contagious but the disease itself is much more severe and harder on pregnant women. According to a study facilitated by Queens College in London the new variants cause a 50% spike in pneumonia among pregnant women, resulting in advanced care like hospitalization.
The CDC, and other agencies, classify pregnancy as an underlying condition which automatically means you are at greater risk of infection from Covid. The term “severe Covid infection” means you may need:
- Intensive Care
- Aid in breathing, such as a ventilator
Along with pregnancy some additional factors which increase your risk are:
- Other underlying medical conditions such as diabetes
- Living or working in a community with high rates of Covid-19 infections
- Living or working in a community with low Covid vaccination rates
- Being over 25 years of age
- Working directly with the public; not being able to maintain social distance of 6 feet or more
Covid Infection Effect on Pregnancy Outcomes
Pregnant people who contract Covid are at risk for some serious complications. In addition to hospitalization and intensive care, the risk of preterm birth is up to four times higher. Poor pregnancy outcomes including pregnancy loss have also been reported. Research also shows that pregnant women with Covid require c-sections more often and their babies are admitted to a neonatal unit with complications more often.
Covid-19 infection raises the risk of serious pregnancy complications for both mother and baby. The risks include preeclampsia, additional infections, and death.
A recent multinational study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association researchers found an increase in severe Covid cases and maternal death for those who contracted Covid during pregnancy. The report states the findings should alert pregnant individuals and their physicians and clinical team to strictly enforce all recommended measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and its variants.
What You Can Do to Prevent Covid Infection and Complications
While it seems elementary at this point, the best way to prevent a serious and severe case of Covid with complications for you and your unborn baby is to get vaccinated. No, Covid vaccines do not harm the placenta or cause infertility. Not only is it safe for those who are pregnant and lactating, but studies show the mother passes the antibodies on to the baby in utero and through breastmilk. This offers a high degree of protection for you and your child.
You should absolutely practice all the pandemic safety measures including washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, wearing a mask or face covering when with others. Open your windows and socialize, if you must, outdoors. Stay socially distant (6 feet) from others outside of your home and if you feel any of the following symptoms contact your doctor to schedule a Covid test:
- Dry Cough
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of taste or smell
If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact your physician immediately. The Covid variants cause a rapid decline in health, especially among pregnant people and especially in the respiratory tract.
Stay Informed By Staying In Touch
The information surrounding complications from the Covid-19 virus and its variants for pregnant people updates regularly. If you haven’t yet received the Covid vaccine, please consider obtaining one as soon as possible. The vaccine is safe and effective for you and your developing fetus. For all the latest information on the impact of the Coronavirus and variations on pregnant people or those who are trying to conceive please contact LA IVF.