Comas C, Carreras E. COVID-19 and pregnancy: An opportunity to correct an historic gender bias. J Med Virol. 2020 Jul 24:10.1002/jmv.26350. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26350. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32706391; PMCID: PMC7404348.
Current literature and clinical guidelines do not include pregnant women as an a priori risk group for COVID-19. However, a gender vision of health begs the question: Why are pregnant women not considered a risk group for COVID-19? The answer is clear: historically, most community scientific studies have not considered female gender, or pregnancy as a state, to be a focus of special interest or effort. Unfortunately, this bias seems to be maintained in the COVID-19 epidemic: most current guidelines for diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy apply the same standard criteria as for the general population. This pandemic is an opportunity to begin redressing this historic gender bias against pregnant women, and to achieve this, we recommend two actions that are easy to implement, and would have a large impact. First, routinely test for SARS-CoV-2 infection in all pregnant women with clinical or epidemiological suspicion, regardless of gestational age or the clinical severity. Second, routinely test for SARS-CoV-2 infection in all pregnant women at admission for delivery. These actions are essential to understand the true impact of COVID-19 throughout pregnancy, and will improve how we manage many aspects of pre- and postnatal care. It is the scientific community’s responsibility to guide, even to anticipate, the recommendations of our respective governments’ health policies. If we do not agree to consider pregnant women as a distinct priority subgroup of the population during this pandemic, once again we will miss an opportunity to overcome this historic bias.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; female gender bias; pregnancy; vertical transmission.