The surge in COVID-19 infection is unsettling and may cause some anxiety. You may have been planning to get pregnant and then suddenly lots of questions would have started popping up in your mind. From how safe is it to get pregnant during the pandemic to risks involved while getting pregnant during the pandemic, we spoke to Dr Nishi Singh – Director, HOD (Department of Infertility & IVF), Prime IVF Delhi & Gurugram – to find out answers to all these things.
1. What are the problems or risks that women face when it comes to conceiving during the pandemic?
The risks women face during this pandemic to conceive is far from proven, but infections that cause a fever could interfere with fertility treatments, especially for women undergoing ovarian stimulation (the medication used during IVF and egg freezing) who can have a lower number of eggs retrieved leading to need for more medications and longer treatment cycles. However, some research says that no evidence of long-term effects.
While reports in males have suggested a decrease in sperm concentration and motility (movement) for up to 90 days post-COVID infection likely due to fever associated with the virus, which raises the body temperature above the optimal temperature for producing sperm. But, there’s evidence, from looking at the effect of other illnesses, that this impact will be temporary.
2. Is it true that pregnant women are at a higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19?
The overall risk of pregnant women getting infected with COVID-19 is low but such women are at increased risk for severe illness with COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant women. They might need hospitalization and require intensive care. Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are also more likely to have abortions and deliver preterm babies. This is especially with pregnant women with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes.
3. Is it okay to get vaccinated when you are trying to conceive or when you are pregnant?
Yes, also if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s recommended that you get vaccinated since getting vaccinated can protect you from severe illness due to COVID-19 and can also help pregnant women build antibodies that might protect their newborn babies.
4. Is it the right thing to plan a baby immediately after being recovered from COVID-19?
There are no recommendations on how soon you can try to get pregnant after recovering from the Covid infection since COVID-19 infection can last for weeks and since pregnant women are known to be at increased risk of severe complications it is better for the patient to start trying after 2 to 4 week of complete recovery.