How Does COVID-19 Affect a Fetus?

Even though we are slowly coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still so much we don’t know about the virus itself. Even scientists are asking the same questions:

  • Why do some people get sick while others don’t have symptoms at all?
  • Will people get the virus again and what will be their symptoms?
  • Do masks really help contain the virus?
  • How and when will COVID-19 end?

No one is completely sure about the virus and its effects on people, particularly pregnant women. Here’s what’s known so far: 

Pregnancy and COVID-19

According to the Mayo Clinic, the overall risk of COVID-19 to pregnant women is low. For the last year and a half, many health researchers have said both a pregnant woman and a woman of the same age who isn’t pregnant, have the same risk of getting the disease. In other words, pregnancy doesn’t make you more likely to become infected.

Warnings for pregnant women

There are some warnings about having COVID-19 and being pregnant. Pregnant women who contract the COVID-19 virus need to be aware of potential risks:

  • A pregnant woman is more likely to develop respiratory complications requiring intensive care
  • Pregnancy increases the risk for severe illness 
  • Pregnant women are more likely to be placed on a ventilator
  • Black and Hispanic pregnant women are disproportionately affected by infection
  • Pregnant women who have underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, might be at even higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19
  • Some research suggests that pregnant women with COVID-19 are also more likely to have a premature birth and cesarean delivery, and their babies are more likely to be admitted to a neonatal unit.

The effects of COVID-19 on a fetus

So far, there isn’t any clear-cut evidence that COVID-19 crosses the placenta and infects the fetus, although a few instances have been reported. If pregnant women who have the virus tend to deliver prematurely, that will definitely affect the fetus.

Current studies suggest if a pregnant woman takes the vaccine sometime in her third trimester, antibodies may pass to the fetus, which could help protect them after birth.

Talk with your healthcare provider

Although research is still continuing, recent studies indicate that it’s safe for pregnant women to take the vaccine. During your routine prenatal care appointments, talk with your healthcare provider about the vaccine and your risk of contracting the virus. It’s always best to get more than one opinion about a decision that could impact the future of your pregnancy.

We’re here for you

At First Coast Women’s Services, we offer no-cost, confidential services. We can confirm your pregnancy with pregnancy testing and ultrasound. 

Contact us and let’s talk about your pregnancy and how we can help you.