COVID-19 impacts on women who are pregnant, newborns

There's a lack of sufficient data to draw direct conclusions, but medical professionals are working to get answers for expecting mothers

MADISON, Wis. — Many expecting mothers are wondering how COVID-19 could affect their pregnancy and their child when they enter the world. Medical professionals are working to get the answers.

Dr. Nasia Safdar, UW Health’s medical director of infection control, says while women who are pregnant are not yet considered at high-risk for COVID-19, it’s likely in their best interest to act like they are.

“There is very little data that we are aware of specifically for COVID-19 and in that data, it is somewhat reassuring,” Safdar said. “But I don’t think we can assume without knowing more that pregnant women are not necessarily a high risk category..

Safdar said it’s best for women who are pregnant to limit their time outdoors to decrease their chances of being exposed to the virus. Those who experience symptoms of illness should call their OBGYN.
While there is no direct data to suggest that if an expecting mother tests positive for COVID-19, that the virus can be directly transmitted to her child at birth. However, Safdar said the close contact a mother has with her newborn could be enough to pass it on to the child.
“There are a number of protocols that OBGYNs have put in place to minimize the risk of that happening,” Safdar said. “Those are things that are not done routinely in pregnancy but may involve such things as having to separate the mom from the baby until it is clear that the baby is not infected.”
There is not enough data or evidence to suggest how COVID-19 impacts a newborn long-term.