CORONA VIRUS AND PREGNANCY

Frequently asked questions by pregnant women

HOW WILL COVID-19 AFFECT MY PREGANANCY?

Minimal data available as at the writing of this report does not indicate that pregnant women are more at risk than the average healthy person. Majority of pregnant women may have mild to moderate symptoms of the disease.

HOW WILL COVID-19 AFFECT MY UNBORN CHILD?

At this early stage of understanding the new coronavirus, there is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage in pregnant women. Emerging data however suggests that transmission of the coronavirus to the baby during pregnancy or birth is probable. In the UK, there have been report of two likely cases but the babies were both discharged and are very well. Previously, reported cases around the world have found infection in at least 32 hours after birth. It is of crucial importance to note that all reported cases of new born babies developing the virus shortly after birth show that the baby is well.

At this point, it is considered unlikely for the virus to affect and inhibit your baby’s development and there is no evidence to the contrary.

In China, there have been a few cases of premature births in infected pregnant women but it is still unclear whether this was triggered by the virus or it was recommended that the baby be delivered early for the safety and health of the mother.

HOW CAN I REDUCE MY RISK OF CORONAVIRUS?

You can reduce your risks by following the federal and international guidelines for pregnant women and everyone else, this includes the following:

  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds or uses alcohol based hand sanitizers
  • Cough or sneeze into elbow or disposable tissue
  • Avoid contact with anyone that exhibits symptoms of coronavirus. This symptoms include high temperature and cough
  • Stay home and avoid unnecessary movement.
  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid gathering in public spaces like restaurants, religious centers and event places.

WHY ARE PREGNANT WOMEN IN A VUNERABLE GROUP?

Officials have placed pregnant women in this category mainly as a precautionary measure and this should be taken very seriously. Although evidence gathered suggests that pregnant women are not significantly at higher risk than the average healthy individual, pregnancy in a small proportion of women can affect how the body manages several viral infections. This is well known by obstetricians and midwives.

SHOULD I STILL ATTEND ANTENATAL CARE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC?

Yes, it is very important to see to your scheduled appointments with your maternity team.  If you develop symptoms similar to that of the Coronavirus infection, make sure you place a call to your doctor or midwife to postpone all appointments till isolation period is over.

Sourced from WHO, mariestopes.org.ng

Fertility Preservation for Cancer Patients

For  young persons, a cancer diagnosis can be very traumatizing. Treatments that can be lifesaving can also be  life threatening to fertility. At the Elrapha Hospital and Fertility Center, we are available to counsel patients with a new cancer diagnosis regarding the risk their cancer treatments may pose to their fertility processes.

Below, our experts answer commonly asked questions about the impact specific treatments have on fertility and the fertility preservation options we offer, which include embryo, oocyte, ovarian tissue and embryo cryopreservation.

Embryo Cryopreservation

In-vitro fertilization followed by cryopreservation (freezing) of the fertilized eggs can provide an opportunity to have a pregnancy after treatment for cancer is completed. This procedure involves treatment with injectable fertility medications to stimulate development of multiple eggs. The eggs are retrieved in a procedure performed under anesthesia, called an oocyte retrieval, and fertilized with the partner’s (or donor) sperm and then frozen. The whole process generally requires two to four weeks.

IVF with cryopreservation of embryos has been used extensively for infertility treatment since the early 1980s and is considered a safe and routine procedure. The embryos can be stored for a number of years until cancer treatment is completed. Even if the cancer treatment results in ovarian failure, the woman can be given hormones to mimic a normal ovulation cycle and have the embryos transferred back to the uterus by a simple outpatient procedure.

The chance of pregnancy is about 30 to 50 percent each time one to two embryos are returned to the hormonally prepared uterus (pregnancy rate is dependent on maternal age at the time the embryos were created). If several high grade embryos can be produced and stored, that should give the couple a reasonably good chance of achieving a pregnancy at a later date. Sometimes this is not possible because of the need to start cancer treatment quickly. An IVF cycle takes about two weeks to complete, and we can often start controlled ovarian hyperstimulation to harvest eggs on a random day during a woman’s cycle.