#1 What is coronavirus? Can i get infected in pregnancy?

Coronavirus, common in animals, is contagious and can be transmitted from person to person. The transmission is by coughing or sneezing from infected persons or touching contaminated objects. Do take precautions!

#2 What are the symptoms of coronavirus infection? How serious is the infection?

The symptoms are similar to flu with dry cough, fever and even shortness of breath. Infected patients can also get diarrhoea. This disease can be severe and fatal in 2-3%.

#3 Are mothers more prone to Covid-19 infection?

The data for coronavirus in pregnancy is currently limited but seems reassuring. As a mum’s immune system is weaker, she may be at greater risk of more serious complications. So do beware.

#4 Are there reports of mothers infected with Covid-19?

A 38-week full term mother in Harbin (China) was unfortunately infected with the virus in January 2020. An emergency C-section was performed and a healthy baby girl was delivered with good Apgar score (showing good health status). Both mother and baby were stable postnatally. The baby is checked clear of virus!

However, for another infected mother who delivered in Feb 2020 at Wuhan (China), her baby was tested positive with the coronavirus 30 hours later. This suggests that vertical mother-to-baby transmission of virus may be possible.

The Lancet published a small study of 9 pregnant moms infected with Covid-19 in third trimesters. The babies were delivered by C-section and thankfully, none were infected, casting doubt on the vertical transmission.

#5 What should pregnant mums do to avoid coronavirus infection?

Practice good hand hygiene with alcohol-based sanitizers especially before meals. Avoid crowded places if possible. Best to curtail travel to China at moment.

This is a good time to take the flu vaccine if you have not. Flu is more common and can lead to severe infection in pregnancy. Taking the jab will also reduce symptoms similar to coronavirus and offer you peace of mind.

Seek medical treatment immediately if you have cough, fever or shortness of breath and with recent travel to China or had close contact with an infected person.

Keep safe, mothers!

About Author

A/Prof Tan Thiam Chye is currently Medical Director of O&G The Women’s Specialist and was Head of Department and Senior Consultant for Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (2017 – 2019).

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