Basic rule, there’s really no such thing as a “right time” to have a baby, but there are times that are better than others. In the end, it’s the woman, her partner (if she has one), and her health care provider are the only people who can suggest the right time to have a baby will be.
As a Gynaecologist specialising in reproductive endocrinology, I’ve had several patients — especially patients who are trying to conceive after experiencing a pregnancy loss — ask me whether or not it’s wise to attempt to get pregnant in the midst of this global pandemic.
The answer, of course, is as personal as any other reproductive health decision.
Unfortunately, what most couples trying to conceive will find themselves facing as we continue to self-quarantine and practice social distancing is uncertainty.
The most pressing question everyone keeps asking and looking for a reliable answer is,
Q. What effect will coronavirus have on my baby if I am diagnosed with Covid-19 infection?
As Covid-19 is a brand new virus scientists are just beginning to learn more about it. There is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage.
Emerging evidence suggests that transmission from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy or birth (vertical transmission) is probable according to Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG). According to RCOG, There has been a report of two cases in which vertical transmission seems likely, but reassuringly both babies were discharged from hospital and were well.
Little is known about the virus itself, and with the limited number of tests available to people in the United States, it’s impossible to know how many people are infected, how many people will eventually test positive, and how overrun our health care facilities will be as a result.
What I encourage my friends and patients trying to conceive during this time — to do is to first focus on what we do know.
Recently,a scientific study published from China which admittedly relied on a very small sample size of pregnant women, suggested that COVID-19 is not transmitted in utero to fetuses during pregnancy. The virus wasn’t even found in amniotic fluid, baby’s cord blood, or the breast milk of mums either.
Put simply, what scientists know at the moment suggests that a pregnant woman cannot transmit the Covid-19 to the baby in utero.
And also, as per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of USA, there doesn’t appear to be an increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth if a pregnant person does contract COVID-19.
So far good news, but, where it gets complicated is, when it comes to the health of a pregnant woman, i.e., if she did suffer Covid-19 infection. According to CDC, it is unknown if pregnant women are more susceptible to Covid-19 Virus
In the United Kingdom, Chief Medical Officer has announced that Pregnant women have been placed in the ‘vulnerable group’ . There is no evidence to suggest being pregnant means pregnant women are more likely to get coronavirus. However, for a small number of women, it does mean being pregnant may change the way their body handles severe viral infection.
If you’re pregnant and have an underlying health condition, such as asthma or diabetes, you may become more unwell if you catch Covid-19 infection during pregnancy. If you have significant heart disease, congenital or acquired, you are considered as extremely vulnerable.
When it comes to similar viruses and respiratory illnesses, pregnant women are more “at risk,” so like anyone else during this time, if someone does become pregnant they should wash their hands, avoid touching their face, stay away from anyone with a cough or showing any other symptoms of COVID-19, and practice social distancing.
Another thing to consider if you’re thinking over the possibility of pregnancy is whether or not healthcare facilities will be equipped to handle your necessary early antenatal care, my own experience is that understandably, many pregnant mums early on in their gestation (<12 weeks) are contemplating whether to go for a dating scan or stay at home. Right now, as it stands, the busy hospitals are filled with Covid patients and that remains their priority…
As per Royal College of Midwives, pregnant women who are well should “attend their care as normal.”
It’s also worth asking oneself about how a pregnancy during this time will look and feel.
If you’re trying to conceive now, chances are you will be preparing to give birth when, hopefully, the pandemic has subsided — but it’s unknown just how long this pandemic will last.
Using a support system that is a train ride, or tube journey or car drive away would, at this time, can create an anxious situation….
Ultimately, the decision to achieve pregnancy right now comes down to the individual and their background health history, personalised recommendations from their health care provider, and the state of the individual’s mental health.
Trying to conceive can be challenging — physically, mentally, and emotionally — all on its own, and without the growing stress of the current Covid situation..