Covid-19: uncertainties from conception to birth

Posted March 22, 2021

Amid the uncertainties about the impacts of Covid-19 on the health of pregnant women, fetuses, and newborns, the team of Centro INCT Hormona Universidade de São Paulo – Campus de Ribeirão Preto (USP/RP) – prepared a review article that compiles the existing scientific data on the association between the new coronavirus and reproductive events, from conception to birth.

According to the deputy general coordinator of INCT Hormona, Prof. Dr. Rui Ferriani, the study was designed because of the significant impact of the pandemic on issues related to infertility and pregnancy. “There are many questions on the counseling of women who think of getting pregnancy, whether they should do so or not, as well as of pregnant women at the different stages of pregnancy, including the final events of pregnancy,” he explains.

The specialist reminds that, in the end of the spread of SARs-COV-2, there was much concern on what would be the consequence of the disease on reproductive events. “Recently, there were other viral diseases with strong impact on the gestational period, such Zika, which causes a very increased risk on fetal malformations when this disease emerges during the first trimester, and H1N1, which has a great risk for pregnant women,” he reminds. “The first concerns with Covid-19 were similar to those of other viral diseases, and thus, we have been keeping track of the entire literature on the infection at all stages of pregnancy,” he explains.

Dr. Ferriani comments also that there are many uncertainties on the impact on pregnancy, especially due to the fact that few pregnant women with Covid-19 have been observed yet. “The lack of knowledge on the virus on conception and pregnancy is accompanied by questions on vaccination, because there are no studies with women trying to get pregnant or with pregnant women, which leads to even more anxiety”, he emphasizes.

The article concludes that data on Covid-19 during pregnancy are still uncertain, possibly to the lack of data, under-notification of cases, and disease outcomes, in addition to inappropriate collection of biological samples for test, insufficient accuracy of the available tests, and inaccuracy of mathematical models in the prediction of the number of asymptomatic individuals.

According to the study, good quality data are urgently needed to support appropriate counseling for women trying to get pregnant and for those who are already pregnant. The article ends stating that, with the limited evidence available so far with regard to uncertainties related to conception from birth inevitably increase the possibility of postponing pregnancy, if possible, for a post-Covid-19 scenario or when there is an effective widely distributed vaccine. “We expect to update this information in a near future, as new evidence emerges,” concludes Dr. Ferriani.

The full article is available at the following link: