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Commentary calls for attention to pregnancy during pandemic

April 24, 2020 12:00 PM

Dr. Pierre Buekens and colleagues at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine have published a comment in Lancet Global Health calling for increased surveillance and research into the ways pregnant women may be impacted by COVID-19.

The commentary points to two ways pregnant women may be impacted by the virus. Physical distancing could put women in danger of a range of social risks, including gender-based and family violence. They also point to the ways immunological and physiological changes during pregnancy may make them more susceptible to infections. Active surveillance is needed to confirm that COVID-19 is causing fewer problems during pregnancy than severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

The authors also point out that blood samples collected as part of routine prenatal care could be used to collect population-based data to determine prevalence of the virus in the general population.

Buekens is the W.H. Watkins professor and director of the Center for Emerging Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Co-authors include Dr. Emily Harville, associate professor of epidemiology; Dr. Jackeline Alger, Dr. Gérard Bréart, and Maria Luisa Cafferata, adjunct faculty at the school; and Giselle Tomasso, a former visiting scholar.