Pregnant woman (Illustrative)
Pregnant woman (Illustrative)iStock

Professor Moshe Ben Ami, who heads the Gynecology and Obstetrics Department at the Baruch Padeh Medical Center in northern Israel, on Tuesday discussed how coronavirus affects pregnant and nursing women, Maariv reported.

He also emphasized the World Health Organization's recommendation that women not cease breastfeeding if they contract the virus, but continue to nurse while ensuring proper hygiene and wearing a mask.

Regarding pregnant women, however, Prof. Ben Ami said that there were several concerning issues which presented themselves.

"Since the first wave, there is more information, and experts around the world have gathered more statistics, which show that the virus is worse among pregnant women," he said. "The CDC published statistics on 8,200 pregnant women who contracted coronavirus: Hospitalization of pregnant women is five times higher than that of non-pregnant women, and the chance of being hospitalized in the ICU and needing to be on a ventilator is also higher: 1.5 times higher than for non-pregnant women for ICU stays, and 1.7 times higher rates of requiring a ventilator."

"However, there is no difference in the death rates, which stand at 1 in 500."

"Fifty percent more Cesarean sections were performed on pregnant women who contracted coronavirus, and more post-birth complications were noted," he added. "The difference was significant: a three times higher rate of complications such as hemorrhage, infection, and clotting issues."

Regarding the chance of premature birth, Prof. Ben Ami said, "This is the most significant risk. The percentage of early births is between 25% and 70%, according to the various studies, compared to 5-10% among the general population."

"Regarding miscarriage, there is no information showing a higher rate of miscarriage. And regarding the question of whether the virus causes birth defects? I can reassure women and say that as of now, there is no evidence of such."

On the issue of breastfeeding, he emphasized: "There is no evidence that coronavirus is transferred via breastmilk. The recommendation for nursing women is not to stop nursing, but to keep good hygiene and wear a mask."

"We have two recommendations for women who are pregnant during this period: The first is to be very careful about keeping the important guidelines: hand hygiene, social distancing, and wearing a mask. The second is that it is very important not to let routine prenatal care fall to the wayside, despite the difficulties."