HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Navigating pregnancy is tough enough. Add on top of it, navigating it during a pandemic when new information is swirling around.
Pregnant women who are COVID positive and showing symptoms may be three times more likely to have pre-term deliveries, according to a study released by the CDC last week.
Doctor John David Wheeler is an OBGYN at Clinic for Women. He says studies like this come along often, and they’re not taken lightly.
“The mere fact of being pregnant decreases a woman’s immune system so they are technically immunosuppressed just by being pregnant,” Wheeler said.
But studies like this, Wheeler says, need to be explained to better understand the, at first, alarming statistics that are accompanied by the headline ‘COVID-19.’
“The overall risk for a pregnant woman for having a serious complicated for COVID, the actual numbers there are very very small, compared to say, even H1N1,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler says fear of the unknown is a large concern for pregnant women during this time. For the medical community, especially obstetrics, it’s hard to know what will come next, since the virus is not even 9 months old yet.
“It is sometimes hard to play the game when the goalposts are constantly being moved around, but what we try to do is we try to get together, have office meetings,” he said. “And making sure that we are having a unified consensus on what the recommendations are and what we as a clinic need to do.”
Wheeler has had a handful of patients COVID-positive at some point during their pregnancy. All stories have had a happy ending so far.
“We have not yet seen any miscarriages or pre-term births due to COVID,” he said.
Wheeler did say, while this study may not be reason for alarm, pregnant women should not let their guard down, especially coming into flu season when they risk contracting both at the same time.
“I think it’s safe to say it’s more important than ever for pregnant women to get their flu shots absolutely,” he said.
Wheeler added one support person, like the father, at this point is still allowed into the delivery room.