Ebola And Pregnancy
Ebola is a serious disease caused by a virus. This rare disease can cause heavy bleeding (hemorrhage ), organ failure or death. Ebola can lead to miscarriage and heavy bleeding during the first and second trimester of pregnancy.
What is the effect of Ebola on pregnant woman ?
There is no evidence to show that pregnant women are at high risk of contracting Ebola. However, they are at risk of severe illnesses and death when they do get the virus. Pregnant women with Ebola are also at increased risk of fetal loss and pregnancy related hemorrhage. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, during the previous attack of Ebola in West Africa , babies born to mothers infected with the virus did not survive. It is not known however if Ebola was the cause of death.
How does the virus spread ?
You can get the virus if you come into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. Coming into contact with personal items such as needles and sheets that have an infected person’s bodily fluids on them puts you at risk. Bodily fluids include :
- breast milk
- vaginal fluids
- urine or poop
NOTE : Ebola is not spread through air, water or food. Early diagnosis and hospital treatment reduces an infected person’s risk of spreading the disease.
Who is at risk ?
You are at risk of catching the virus if
- you travel to an area with Ebola outbreak
- if you come into contact with someone with the virus
- if you work on research with animals like monkey that were brought from Africa
How do I know I have Ebola
Ebola symptoms may take up to 3 weeks to appear but most people usually start showing signs within a couple of weeks. You cannot pass the virus to other people until you have symptoms. It usually starts as a flu and gets worse as time goes on.
Early symptoms include :
- joint and muscle pain
- severe headache
- loss of appetite
Later symptoms include :
- diarrhea or bloody stool
- heavy bleeding from eyes, nose and ears
- liver and kidney problems
- difficulty breathing
- rash all over the body that may contain blood
If you have travelled to an area with Ebola or have come into contact with someone who has the disease and are experiencing these symptoms, contact your health care provider right away.
How is Ebola treated during pregnancy ?
The treatment for the disease is the same for any adult. You will be in intensive care in an isolation unit. This is to enable you get the treatment you need without infecting other people. The health care workers in the isolation unit wear protective gears such as face shields, gowns and gloves to protect themselves from being infected.
- receiving fluids intravenously
- getting oxygen
- blood transfusion
- treating complications such as infections
How can I protect myself from Ebola ?
There is no vaccine to prevent the disease. However you can take these steps to reduce your risk of getting it.
- wash your hands often with warm water and soap. You can also use a hand sanitizer with about 60% of alcohol in it if you don’t have soap
- don’t touch animal
- don’t touch bodily fluids of sick people
- don’t touch items that have come into contact with the bodily fluids of sick people
- get immediate care if you experience signs of Ebola
THE CDC recommends that
- health care workers who are pregnant should not care for Ebola patients
- health care providers caring for pregnant women should be prepared to screen patients for Ebola and have a plan in place to triage these patients
- pregnant women who show signs of Ebola should be hospitalized, and CDC guidance for hospitalized patients with known or suspected Ebola should be followed.
- the virus have been found in samples of breastmilk therefore new moms with Ebola should not breastfeed
Ebola and Pregnancy. March of Dimes.http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/ebola-and-pregnancy.aspx. Accessed December 21, 2014
Practice Advisory: Care of Obstetric Patients During an Ebola Virus Outbreak. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . http://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/News-Room/Statements-and-Advisories/2014/Care-of-Obstetric-Patients-During-an-Ebola-Virus-Outbreak. Accessed December 21, 2014