#childsafety | Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus not yet clear

There is no definitive answer as to whether the novel coronavirus can transmit between pregnant women and their fetuses, a Chinese obstetrics specialist said on Saturday.

The current approach regarding treatment of pregnant women confirmed to have the virus is to prioritize the safety of the adult while taking a comprehensive view of her health conditions to decide whether to terminate the pregnancy, said Zhao Yangyu, head of the obstetrics department of Peking University Third Hospital, at a news conference held by the National Health Commission.

“It is also worth noting consistent fever and virus infections are always harmful to fetuses during early pregnancy, ” she said. “Special attention should be paid in this regard.”

As the increasing number of confirmed and suspected cases of the novel coronavirus is straining medical resources in China, concerns have also risen over hospitals’ capacity to handle pregnant women who need regular health check-ups.

Wang Liang, an official with the commission’s maternal and child health department, said some local authorities have designated institutions specializing in obstetrics and neonatology to deliver services to the pregnant and ensure their safety.

“For pregnant women who are suspected of, or confirmed to be, infected with the virus, they should seek treatment at hospitals designated for coronavirus patients,” he added.

Zhao, the obstetrics specialist, added despite the spread of the illness, pregnant women should follow advice of doctors to conduct examinations, especially those at high risk.

“Some hospitals have taken measures to distribute patients into different time slots in order to avoid large gatherings and reduce their waiting time,” she said, adding mothers-to-be are also suggested to take precautions such as wearing masks and cooperating with health screenings at medical institutions.

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