Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the current pandemic situation caused due to SARS-CoV2, is being a constant worry for the global population without any conclusive data on vaccines or treatments. Several countries like India and the USA are facing a boom in the numbers and community transmission is afoot. Although the majority of the infections are mild, severity of the coronavirus disease cases is primarily caused in elderly people and people having underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, maternal health, or kidney disease.
Pregnant women are specifically vulnerable to several infectious diseases that can cause maternal and fetal-related adverse outcomes as immunological and physiological malfunctioning during pregnancy are the gestational loopholes responsible for an increased risk.According to prior reports in history, during the previous SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV outbreak, several pregnant women acquired the coronavirus infection. SARS-CoV was associated with severe maternal illness& death, pre-term delivery, spontaneous abortion, severe intrauterine growth restriction, and newborn complications (might be gastrointestinal. Aside from SARS-CoV, MERS-CoVinfected pregnant women also reported cases of several maternal and neonatal deaths and stillbirths.
Clinical Reports on Maternal Health Issues During COVID-19
Currently, over 20 case reports and case series presenting maternal and neo-natal complicacies have been published related to COVID-19. The clinical and scientific research communities are putting an immense effort in sharing information on maternal health during COVID-19. Although the signs of COVID19 symptoms are similar in case of pregnant and non-pregnant women, it is evident that pregnant women appear to be more susceptible to coronavirus disease as they harbor a compromised immune system. According to a study published in Fetal Pediatr Pathol.
Journal, there is no evidence for vertical transmission of the virus from infected mothers to the fetus through reports in JAMA Pediatr. and JAMA journals showed a few COVID-19 positive neonatal children after birth. Several maternal and fetal adverse outcomes have also been reported in several published reports and these health adversities include preterm delivery, low birth weight, newborn respiratory complications, and fetal distress. Among these critical conditions, preterm delivery has been considered as the leading cause of death in young children under five years of age. Therefore, pregnant women should be specially considered in the management of COVID-19 prevention and treatment strategies all over the world.
Need of the Hour
Pregnant women and neonatal populations constitute one of the most vulnerable coronavirus affected sections all over the world and well-directed efforts are critical to ensure health and well being. The WHO, and other international health organizations have already issued some interim recommendations for the management of SARS-CoV2 affected pregnant women to advise against unnecessary panic and encourage more breastfeeding to increase immunity in the community.
Moreover, besides primary health services and home visits, pregnant women should be able to easily avail dedicated professional telemedicine or teleconsultation personnel to ensure early detection of any pregnancy-related complication. But first and foremost, we need to make sure that there are enough valid data and follow up on the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and neonates by a methodical and periodic screening of any suspected coronavirus infection during pregnancy.