Coronavirus

General Advice

 We are currently all under a degree of threat from coronavirus. Hopefully, our authorities and medical system will manage this with the least risk to the community.

Click here for the NSW health general coronavirus guidelines, here for travel guidelines, or here for federal government guidelines.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women have an extra level of anxiety, and that may stem from the real increased risk to pregnant women from Influenza.

At this point in time, it appears that pregnant women are NOT at increased risk of becoming severely unwell or worse. Additionally, there does not appear to be a risk of birth defects or other problems for the foetus.

The Australian College of Obstetricians (RANZCOG) has published a current summary, and that can be read by clicking here. The British College (RCOG) is highly respected and has published an excellent but very comprehensive review (link). I don't recommend reading it unless you are very hungry for detail.

The take-home messages from the RCOG are....

Effect on the mother/symptoms. The large majority of women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu-like symptoms. Cough, fever and shortness of breath are other relevant symptoms. More severe symptoms such as pneumonia and marked hypoxia are widely described with COVID-19 in older people, the immunosuppressed and those with longterm conditions such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. These symptoms could occur in pregnant women so should be identified and treated promptly. At present, there is one reported case of a woman with COVID-19 who required mechanical ventilation at 30 weeks’ gestation, following which she had an emergency caesarean section and made a good recovery.

 

Asymptomatic spreaders. Within the general population, there is evolving evidence that there could be a cohort of asymptomatic individuals or those with very minor symptoms that are carrying the virus, although the incidence is unknown.

 

Effect on the fetus There are currently no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to COVID-19. Case reports from early pregnancy studies with SARS and MERS do not demonstrate a convincing relationship between infection and increased risk of miscarriage or second-trimester loss

 

Birth defects. As there is no evidence of intrauterine fetal infection with COVID-19 it is therefore currently considered unlikely that there will be congenital effects of the virus on fetal development.