Are pregnant women at higher risk for COVID-19?

The current novel coronavirus is scary, but fortunately there are a lot of precautions we can take to avoid spreading the virus known as COVID-19. Washing your hands and social distancing can go a long way to contain this illness and keep most of the population safe. While it’s important for everyone to be as cautious as they can, there are some people who need to take more care than others.

According to the CDC, people “who have had prolonged, unprotected close contact with a patient with symptomatic, confirmed COVID-19 and those who live in or have recently been to areas with sustained transmission,” are at the greatest risk. Immunocompromised individuals and older adults “may be at risk for more severe outcomes” if they contract COVID-19.

Where does this leave pregnant women?

There's no evidence that pregnant women are at higher risk for COVID-19

While the CDC says that our knowledge of how COVID-19 impacts those who are pregnant “is very limited,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged pregnant women to self isolate. That being said, there’s no actual evidence that pregnant women are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19, at least according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives who said (via The Independent): “[This] is a precautionary measure to reduce the theoretical risk to the baby’s growth and risk of preterm if the mother becomes unwell.”

However, Dr. Ashley Roman, the director of maternal-fetal medicine at NYU Langone, told the New York Post that changes in a pregnant womens’ immune systems may put them “at higher risk of developing severe disease.” She added, “Put simply, they may [become] sicker than people of the same age who are not pregnant.”

While not having more solid answers can be frustrating, it’s important to stay calm — and keep those hands clean! Expectant mothers who are worried about the potential of passing on COVID-19 can at least rest easy in the knowledge that there is no evidence that pregnant moms can pass coronavirus to their babies.

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