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New research tackles uncertainty around pregnancy and COVID-19

A maternal-fetal medicine physician at The Ottawa Hospital has received funding from the CIHR to study the gaps in knowledge about COVID-19 and pregnancy, including whether a mother can pass the virus to her child.
By: Heather Marie Connors
July 09, 2020
Photo: CHRISTINA ANNE MACPHERSON / Amelia Buchanan

Worldwide research into pregnancy and COVID-19 has so far revealed that up to 80 percent of pregnant women who become infected have relatively mild symptoms. But there are gaps in current knowledge that Ottawa Hospital physician and researcher Darine El-Chaar hopes to address through a new research project funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

“The patients have all these questions. We need to be able to answer them and to understand what this could mean to help with delivery planning” El-Chaar told the Ottawa Citizen.

One of the key questions El-Chaar and her team are addressing is whether the virus can be passed from mother to child, making this the first research of it’s kind in Canada. Another project will examine potential risk and/or immunity factors like vaginal birth and breast-feeding. The insights gained will help physicians in their approach to care, as well as aid in determining whether universal testing of pregnant women is needed.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

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