Can Coronavirus Be Passed Down in Pregnancy?

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Image by The Times of Israel

Recently, a new study, whose findings appear in JAMA Pediatrics, explores the impact of the novel coronavirus on pregnant women and its potential effect on the health of the baby in the future.

More specifically, the researchers were interested in knowing whether the coronavirus infection can be passed down from the mothers to the offspring.

Previously, there have been studies on the transmission and functioning of the coronavirus to develop new treatments and vaccines for the infection. Till now, it is known that the virus is highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person contact.

In addition, health experts have also stated that the infection is more likely to spread through people with no symptoms rather than those with visible signs such as the runny nose, dry coughing, and high fever.

According to the researchers, this is because people experiencing the signs seem to automatically avoid public spaces, gatherings, and big crowds.

This is also the reason why there are strict curfews, restrictions, and lockdowns being practiced in the majority of the severely affected countries at the moment. Britain is the latest country to announce nationwide lockdown followed by South Africa.

Regardless of such efforts by different governments, the World Health Organization has stated that the pandemic is still accelerating and that some countries are more likely to have an even higher number of cases in the coming weeks.

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On the other hand, the situation in China has given hope since no new cases have been reported so far in Wuhan, which was previously deemed as the center for coronavirus infection.

In addition, after facing a major health crisis and over six thousand deaths, Italy has also been seen to control the spread of the coronavirus infection. Health experts from Italy are also hopeful about putting an end to the pandemic in the country as soon as possible.

However, with the rise of coronavirus infection, there have also been other health concerns, one of which is the question of whether or not the infection can be passed down from a pregnant woman to a child.

To answer this question, the researchers in the new study looked at thirty-three pregnant women, all of whom resided in Wuhan during the outbreak of the virus. In the sample, three of the babies of the women were diagnosed with coronavirus infection upon birth.

All of the three babies were male and could not be delivered via natural birth because the women had coronavirus complications. Secondly, all three births were premature. The researchers explained these findings, saying:

“Because strict infection control and prevention procedures were implemented during the delivery, it is likely that the sources of SARS-CoV-2 in the neonates’ upper respiratory tracts or anuses were maternal in origin.”

Prior to this study, Chinese experts stated that it was possible for the virus to infect the baby via vertical transmission after a baby was diagnosed with coronavirus symptoms nearly thirty hours after birth.

Hence, it was concluded that the virus can transmit either through the placenta or by the process of childbirth itself. Keeping this in mind, the researchers further add that:

“Therefore, it is crucial to screen pregnant women and implement strict infection control measures, quarantine of infected mothers, and close monitoring of newborns,”

The symptoms of coronavirus infection in pregnant women are similar to those in the usual case. However, it should be noted that the symptoms may be more severe and may cause many more complications in comparison.

Therefore, upon the visibility of initial symptoms, consulting a doctor or visiting a hospital is recommended.

 

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