COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Statement

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a new pathogen of high contagious abilities.

Although males seem to be more affected than females, as yet very little is known about the effect of COVID-19 on pregnant women and infants.

Based on the only set of available COVID-19 data, being a small series of women from Wuhan, China, there is no evidence that pregnant women are more at risk than the general population and there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted to the baby during pregnancy.

Anwar Nassar, Chair of the FIGO Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health Committee highlights:

“Limited data is available about COVID-19 during pregnancy. Based on current evidence, pregnant women do not appear to be at increased risk of infection with the virus, or of having more severe symptoms than the general population. As of today, no mortalities among pregnant women have been reported, and there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted to the newborn during pregnancy.”

Documents are available from several of FIGO’s National Member Societies
links are included below:

In addition, guidance is being updated on a daily basis by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Protection (CDC).

COVID-19 is not SARS and it is not influenza. However, it is spreading fast, and expected to cause considerable health, economic and societal impacts in any setting.

FIGO therefore urges Obstetricians–Gynecologists, and other health care practitioners, to pay close attention to health and wellbeing of pregnant women, and to take seriously any symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough or shortness of breath

And to ensure appropriate diagnostics and therapies and using standard precaution with suspected cases. Obtaining a detailed travel history for pregnant women presenting with fever and acute respiratory illness is also mandatory as well as notifying the infection control team in the health facility.

We are aware that historically, pregnant women have been disproportionately affected by respiratory illnesses, which have higher rates of mortality, ICU admission and other infectious morbidity compared to the non-pregnant population (influenza epidemic in 1918, the Asian flu epidemic in 1957/58, H1N1 pandemic in 2009 and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003). 

FIGO is therefore paying close attention to the WHO updates on COVID-19, and new information will be shared once released.

This piece has been contributed by:
Dr Faysal El Kak, Vice President, FIGO