Pregnant Covid-19 patient suffers miscarriage

A Bulawayo woman who tested positive for Covid-19 and was in isolation suffered a miscarriage early this week and was able to receive the appropriate medical care.

However, health officials said there is no known proof as yet that the coronavirus might have caused her to miscarry.

The woman was less than 12 weeks pregnant and had been isolated at Elangeni Training Centre, the designated Covid-19 isolation centre in Bulawayo.

When the unfortunate incident took place, the woman was referred to Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital – one of the treatment centres for patients who have Covid-19.

In an interview with CITE, Director of Health Services Dr Edwin Sibanda, confirmed the case and said the woman was now in a stable condition.

“We had one patient who was admitted at Elangeni isolation and found to be COVID positive who then, unfortunately, started miscarrying whilst admitted there. She was then moved to Thorngrove Hospital for observation and ultimately referred to a central hospital for the definitive treatment and she is stable,” he said.

Dr Sibanda noted that however, existing data had not yet proved Covid-19 as a cause of miscarriages since it was still a new disease.

“We don’t know if the woman’s cause of miscarriage was due to Covid-19, as pregnant women can miscarry and this woman was less than 12 weeks pregnant. Anyone who is less than 12 weeks pregnant can easily miscarry. With no known cases, we don’t know whether the relationship (that is the miscarriage) is there with Covid-19 or not. But it’s up to the gynaecologist to see but I don’t think they can establish that too,” he said.

Available evidence now suggests that pregnant women are at no greater risk of becoming seriously unwell than other healthy adults if they develop coronavirus

Research says a large majority of pregnant women experience only mild or moderate cold/flu-like symptoms.

Cough, fever, shortness of breath, headache and loss or change to a sense of smell or taste are other relevant symptoms.

Dr Sibanda said this was the reason why they had to go through literature.

“We are yet to go through the literature, remember this is a new disease as COVID-19 has only been around for six months so I don’t think there has been any studies. What we know is people with Covid-19 have delivered successfully and Gweru has such a case. This is the little that know,” he said.

In May 28, 2020, Zimbabwe’s medical team successfully conducted the delivery of a pregnant mother who tested positive for Covid-19.

The baby was delivered through a caesarean section at Gweru Provincial Hospital, while the mother and baby were stable at the hospital’s Isolation centre.

Reached for comment, acting Bulawayo Provincial Medical Director, Dr Welcome Mlilo, concurred multiple causes caused miscarriages and it was hard to say if Covid-19 could be a cause.

“The patient was isolated at Elangeni then was referred to Thorngrove and managed in line with the guidelines and received the appropriate medical care. Rarely are we able to attribute the cause of miscarriage to Covid-19 as there is no data yet linking Covid-19 to miscarriages. Research indicates there are several causes of miscarriage and mostly are congenital,” he said.

The acting PMD was, however, unable to give more detail on how the woman may have contracted the virus.

“I can’t give you more information as these are called identifiers but she was first isolated at Elangeni as part of Infection Control and Prevention. She was then managed and stabilised at Thorngroove Hospital,” Dr Mlilo said.

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