Clinicians and epidemiologists don’t yet know much about COVID-19 and pregnancy, says the leader of a newly formed national network that’s aiming to fill in those gaps.
“We scoured the literature and found a real limited amount of information, of course, at the beginning, from China and a little bit more from Europe,” said Dr. Deborah Money, a professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Columbia’s faculty of medicine.
That early information ranged from “quite dreadful predictions of what might happen to much more benign,” said Money, who is a sub-specialist in reproductive infectious diseases.
She’s heading up the new network of physicians and researchers that is examining maternal and infant outcomes among pregnant women who fell ill with COVID-19.
She said every province and territory has signed on to work with local public health departments and collect data.
“We’re actually hoping to collect every single, solitary, identified COVID-19 positive pregnancy, regardless of when it happened, and collect it through the evolution of the pandemic,” Money said in an interview on Friday.
They’re focused on variables including the mother’s age, the age of the fetus at the time of her COVID-19 infection, the severity of the infection and whether the mother required hospitalization or intensive care treatment. They are also looking at what happens during delivery and whether the mother chooses to breast feed, as well as the newborn’s weight, Money explained.
Some of Money’s colleagues are exploring women’s experiences of pregnancy during COVID-19 overall, regardless of whether they contracted the illness.
Money also sits on the infectious diseases committee for the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, whose members are working to provide up-to-date guidelines for pregnant women and new parents during the pandemic.
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She said Canadian clinicians have taken a different approach to their counterparts in China and the United States when it comes to handling deliveries and post-natal care.
“We have not done what other jurisdictions have done, which is if the mom has COVID, they separate the baby from the mom,” she said.