Prof. Moshe Ben-Ami, director of the maternity ward at Baruch Padeh Medical Center, stated on Monday that “there’s no evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted through breast milk. The recommendation for breastfeeding women is: do not stop breastfeeding, while maintaining hygiene and wearing a face mask.”
“Our recommendations for pregnant women during this time are to be very careful about the important guidelines regarding hand hygiene, social distance, and wearing a face mask. In addition, despite the difficulty, it is very important not to neglect routine pregnancy monitoring.”
Prof. Ben-Ami has been serving as head of maternity since 1996. He also serves as Deputy Dean and Chairman of the Admissions Committee of the Bar Ilan University medical school, and as Chairman of the Israel Midwifery and Gynecology Association. At the medical center outside T’veria, Ben-Ami is responsible for the Department of Women, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Maternity Ward, the Ultrasound Units, IVF and the Women’s ER.
Prof. Ben-Ami said that the coronavirus and the second wave Israel is currently facing have raised countless questions among pregnant women as well as following childbirth.
“Since the first wave more data has accumulated among experts around the world indicating that the disease is more severe in pregnant women,” Prof. Ben-Ami said. “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released data on 8,200 pregnant women who contracted the coronavirus, and it turns out the hospitalization rate of pregnant women is 5 times higher than that of non-pregnant women. Hospitalization in intensive care and the need for ventilation were also higher. Intensive care hospitalization is 1.5 times higher compared to non-pregnant women. The need for respiration is 1.7 times higher.”
“On the other hand, there is no difference in the mortality rate, which is 1 in 500 (in women diagnosed with the coronavirus – JP),” Prof. Ben-Ami noted.
Cesarean sections have also been significantly affected by the virus, according to Prof. Ben-Ami, who said “50% more cesarean deliveries were performed on pregnant women who were diagnosed with the coronavirus. Also, there were more complications after the birth – a significant difference, three times more complications such as bleeding, infections and hypercoagulability.”
Regarding preterm birth, Prof. Ben-Ami stressed that “this is the most significant risk. The percentage of premature births [among women with the virus] ranges from 25% to 70% according to various studies. This is compared to 5-10% in the general population. But there is no information that indicates abortions are more common.”
As to whether the coronavirus causes birth defects, Prof. Ben-Ami said, “I can reassure women and say that there is currently no evidence of that.”