Trying to Conceive during COVID-19: What next?
I know, this is not how you imagined starting or adding to your family. This pandemic has brought a great strain on all of us, financially, emotionally, and mentally. Pregnancy is already filled with a mix of joy and anxiety, but the uncertainty of being pregnant and delivering during this time of uncertainty has left many women feeling overwhelmed. If and when to become pregnant this year has been a question that has plagued many families.
The data is continually changing regarding COVID-19 and pregnancy. Thus far, there is no evidence that being pregnant increases your risk for COVID. But, a recent study noted pregnant women may have an increased risk of more severe disease if they do become infected, including an increased risk of being hospitalized and higher rates of ICU admission. These data are not surprising as pregnant women undergo many physiologic changes in their body, an important one being the respiratory system. As the uterus enlarges throughout pregnancy, it will push up on the diaphragm reducing lung capacity. Thus, even mild cases of COVID may cause more discomfort in a pregnant woman compared to a non-pregnant woman.
Pregnant women should take all precautions to protect themselves from exposure. These include:
- Wearing a mask when out in public.
- Maintain social distancing when around non-immediate family members.
- Washing hands frequently and properly and using hand sensitizer when you cannot wash hands.
- Limit exposure by avoiding large gathering.
- Avoid sick contacts.
Additionally, if you having difficulty trying to conceive, we still recommend a consult with your OBGYN or a fertility doctor. Most non-urgent initial consultations can be done using telemedicine to minimize exposure. If treatment and additional workup are indicated, many clinics have put in place safety measures to reduce the risk of virus transmission and to get you in and out safely and efficiently. If you are hesitant about trying to conceive, a recent study noted that pregnancy rates were not significantly different in infertile women with diminished ovarian reserve who waited up to 6 months to conceive using fertility treatment compared to those who received treatment within 3 months.
Bottom line is this is a time when you need to do what is best for you, your family and your own mental health. If you are pregnant or getting ready to deliver, know that your doctor and hospital are doing everything possible to keep you and your baby safe.
Resources for pregnant women and those trying to conceive during COVID are below.