The first Coronavirus outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. Before we move on to the bigger picture, let us study a bit about this infection, its treatment and lastly discuss the aspects that pregnant women must be aware of.
The Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes diseases ranging from common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS-CoV, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome also called SARS-CoV, and yes, the virus is contagious.
This type of virus is a new chain of virus as the global experts stated. The World Health Organization is working tirelessly with governments and other health organisations to provide proper assistance to the countries regarding the preventive measures that are supposed to be taken and the most important measure being, maintaining social distancing.
Currently there are no medications prescribed to treat COVID-19, and no cure is available. Antibiotics aren't effective against viral infections such as this novel coronavirus. The World Health Organisation and the researchers are working tirelessly to find a cure for this deadly virus.
The Food and Drug Administration granted permission for some medications approved for other diseases to be used to treat severe COVID-19 cases when no other options are available. Two malaria drugs — hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine — and an antiviral drug, remdesivir, have been approved so far for use.
Treatment is directed at relieving some symptoms and they may include:
- Cough syrup or medication
- Pain relievers (ibuprofen or acetaminophen)
- Fluid intake
There is no evidence that ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) need to be avoided. If you have mild symptoms, your doctor might recommend that you stay at home. He or she may give you special instructions to monitor your symptoms and guide you on how to avoid spreading the illness to others. You'll likely be asked to isolate yourself as much as possible from pets and family while you're sick, wear a mask when you're around people and pets, and use a separate bathroom and bedroom.
As the global death toll of coronavirus surpasses 390,000, the spread of the virus continues to accelerate in parts of Eastern Europe and Latin America, according to the World Health Organization. Daily new confirmed cases are pushing new highs, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with an all-time high of 130,400 new cases confirmed around the world on June 3, 2020.
Brazil is the second hardest hit country in terms of number of cases with 614,941 cases as of June 7, 2020, with the third highest deaths in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Despite that, Reuters reported that President Jair Bolsonaro has even threatened to pull out of the WHO.
In Asia, India’s cases surpassed those of Italy and Spain, making it the fifth hardest hit country by numbers of cases, according to Hopkins data. Cases for India stand at 246,628 as of June 7, 2020.
In the United states, cases have been on a gradual rise since the Memorial Day weekend, a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data shows. The country is still pushing forward with reopening. Some of the largest Las Vegas casinos reopened on June 4, 2020, and New York City, the epicentre of the U.S. outbreak, is slated to move into its first phase of reopening from June 8.
Pregnancy during Coronavirus
What does the coronavirus mean for your pregnancy?
Scientists are still trying to learn more about how the coronavirus impacts pregnancy. Here's what the scientists know right now:
- Pregnant women are immunocompromised and therefore more susceptible to complications of certain respiratory infections and diseases like the novel coronavirus, so experts recommend to strictly follow certain precautions, like keeping your hands clean.
- A brief study of nine pregnant women in Wuhan, China, who tested positive for coronavirus, found no evidence of the virus in their cord blood, breast milk, or amniotic fluid.
- In the month of May, a small study of 46 pregnant women with coronavirus symptoms published in the ‘American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology’ found that most had mild cases, but some of them developed breathing problems.
- A small study of 43 pregnant women in New York with confirmed coronavirus published in the ‘American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology’ in the month of April found that unlike H1N1 and SARS, pregnant women do not seem to experience more severe illness from the coronavirus compared to the general population.
- A small retrospective study published in The Lancet reviewed obstetric and neonatal outcomes of seven pregnant women at a hospital in Wuhan itself who had contracted the coronavirus in their third trimesters. The results for all the women were good; none were admitted into intensive care and all were later discharged later from the hospital.
- A study published as a letter in ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’ looked at testing data from pregnant women who gave birth between March 22 and April 4 at New York in Presbyterian Allen Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Centre in New York City. The study was small, focusing on just 215 moms-to-be, 88 percent of the women who tested positive for COVID-19 did not show any sign or symptoms.
- A research letter published in ‘JAMA’ in late May analysed testing data from 782 pregnant women who were admitted for birth at three Yale New Haven hospitals in Connecticut. Of those women, 12 (1.5 percent) had previously tested positive for COVID-19. In the rest of the women, 30 (3.9 percent) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 22 (73.3 percent) of those didn’t show any symptoms. Eight of 14 women with symptoms (47 percent) tested positive for the virus. Overall, 22 (2.9 percent) of patients without any symptoms, tested positive. Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that COVID-19 rates among pregnant women are comparatively low.
Also Read: How Can You Prevent The Transmission Of COVID-19?
- A research letter published in ‘Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology ‘analysed electronic health data of women giving birth at four hospitals affiliated with Mass General Brigham Health from mid-April to early May for COVID-19 test results. It was found that 7.9 percent of pregnant women with COVID-like symptoms and a 1.5 percent of pregnant women with no symptoms tested positive for COVID-19 at four Boston hospitals.
In the month of May, the National Institutes of Health announced that they're conducting a multipronged study of 21,000 medical records as well as 1,500 pregnant women who tested positive for the virus to better understand how the condition impacts pregnancy and maternal health — this means would soon know more about how the virus affects pregnant women and their babies.
How can pregnant women protect themselves from the coronavirus?
Even if there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in your area, you must assume that the infection is still circulating in your town. It may take several days to get the test results back and research has suggested that people can spread the virus even before they have any symptoms. It is recommended for pregnant women that they do their best to stay at home as much as possible.
It doesn't hurt to stock up on a few essential and necessary items, such as medicines, canned goods and frozen foods. If it’s an emergency and you have to leave home to go out in public, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to wear a face mask or cloth face covering (such as a bandana or scarf) to prevent the virus from entering through your nose or mouth.
What happens if you test positive for COVID-19 just before giving birth?
The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) has issued some guidelines on this. The academy recommends that infants born to mothers with a confirmed case of coronavirus, must be temporarily separated from their moms to lower the risk that the baby will be infected with the deadly virus. Babies born to moms who are suspected of having COVID-19 or have symptoms, should also stay in an area that is separate from unaffected infants, the guidance says.
The AAP also offered some more specific advice:
- If the place where the mother gave birth to her child, can’t put the baby and the mother in a separate area, or if the mother chooses to keep her baby in the same room despite the recommendations, then the baby must be placed at least six feet away from his or her mother.
- Medical staff who look after the child and the mother, should use a gloves and gown, with either an N95 respiratory mask and eye protection goggles or with an air-purifying respirator that provides protection to the eyes.
- The mother can express breast milk after she washes her hands and cleans her breasts. Ideally, the baby would then be fed by someone who is not infected. If the mother wishes to directly nurse her baby, the AAP says it’s important to use a mask and follow “meticulous” breast and hand hygiene.
- If testing is available, the baby should be tested for COVID-19 at 24 hours of age, and again when the baby is 48 hours old. If the baby can’t be tested, it should be treated as positive for the virus for a 14-day observation period.
Tags: COVID-19 in Pregnancy, COVID 19- Pregnant Women’s Care, Pregnancy during Coronavirus
Henry holds a diploma in Linguistics and is fluent in both, written and verbal Spanish. He is an avid reader and loves to stay updated about the healthcare industry. If you are reading about any major breakthrough in the medical field, know that Henry is the one who brought it to you.