Affinity Health: Can human Foetuses contract Covid-19?
While recent studies have revealed that pregnant women who test positive for COVID-19 are mostly asymptomatic, what about their unborn babies? Affinity Health examines whether the coronavirus can spread to human foetuses.
Researchers have been taking a closer look at the placenta under the microscope to better understand how SARS-CoV-2 can pass from a pregnant mother to her unborn child. The foetus-supporting tissue has been analysed not only for viral infection but also for immune cells that may prevent transmission. So far, the data suggest that the virus can pass through the placenta and into the blood of the foetus, but it is infrequent for this type of viral transmission.
Currently, data indicates that infected moms-to-be pass the virus to their babies relatively infrequently. Estimates suggest perhaps only in about one percent of pregnant women who get COVID-19. But, this is not a green light for pregnant moms to be complacent about protecting themselves from coronavirus.
Just because the new coronavirus is not contracted by the baby in utero, does not mean there is no risk of complications to both mom and baby, such as preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks). If the foetus is exposed to inflammation due to the viral infection of the mother, long-term effects could also occur.
“It’s important to remember that are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to Covid-19. More research is certainly needed before any definitive answers can be given,” says Affinity Health CEO Murray Hewlett.
The bottom line for pregnant moms? The best way to protect yourself and your unborn baby from Covid-19 is by taking all the appropriate precautions.
- Limit interactions as much as possible with individuals who might have been exposed to or who might be infected with COVID-19, including individuals within your household.
- When you interact with others, take steps to avoid getting COVID-19. Wear a mask, especially if you can’t distance yourself from other people. Avoid others who do not wear masks, or ask others to wear a mask around you.
- Maintain at least a one-metre distance between yourself and others to reduce your risk of infection when they cough, sneeze or speak.
- Wash your hands as often as possible, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Keep all of your appointments for healthcare during and after pregnancy. For all the recommended appointments, visit your healthcare provider.
- Ask your healthcare provider what steps they are taking to separate healthy patients from those who might be sick if you’re concerned about going to your appointments because of COVID-19. Contact your closest hospital clinic if you need help finding a healthcare provider.
- Know the full range of symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, tiredness, loss of taste or smell, aches and pains, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, diarrhoea, or a skin rash).
- If you have any concerns about your pregnancy or if you get sick and think that you may have COVID-19, call your healthcare provider.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.