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Pregnant women not at higher risk from coronavirus, experts say

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BATON ROUGE - COVID-19 has affected people in a wide range of different ways, but how does the virus specifically affect those who are pregnant?

"So pregnant women aren't expected to get any sicker than anybody else," Dr. Cliff Moore said. 

Dr. Moore is a maternal-fetal medicine physician who works with high-risk pregnant patients at Woman's hospital.  He says if a pregnant woman was to catch the virus, she would be affected the same as any other person. 

"You can catch the flu a lot easier because you're pregnant, and same goes for COVID. But to say you will get sicker than others doesn't seem to be holding a lot of truth," Moore explained.

In the rare case that you're extremely ill and hospitalized due to coronavirus, your body could go into early labor. Experts say this is because your body thinks the infection is coming from the pregnancy.

"With a really sick woman and really, really inflammatory conditions, pre-term labor is quite common. The good news is the women that are getting this disease aren't getting sick enough to kick off that pathway." 

Coronavirus-positive patients deliver their babies in a special unit where everyone is wearing protective wear

"Those that are COVID-positive, or people who are under investigation, we are delivering them in our COVID unit so we protect the patient, the newborn and our health care providers," Dr. Moore said. 

Once the baby is born, they too are tested for the virus. According to the CDC and doctors at Woman's Hospital, transmitting the virus between a mother and child is unlikely, but once the baby is born they are susceptible to person-to-person spread.

The CDC says the number of coronavirus-positive babies is very slight, and it's unclear if they got the virus before or after birth.

Dr. Moore says the good news is the majority of these women contracting the virus are not getting overtly sick, and it's rare that they are ill enough to have serious complications.

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