If you are a woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy considering abortion during COVID-19, there are some important things to know.
Government-issued shelter in place guidelines, social distancing, and resources deemed essential are aggressive efforts to minimize exposure and reduce transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to employees and the public.
Surgical abortions are not considered essential based on state and local government collaboration because 85% of OBGYN’s do not have competency or skill set to perform them and it requires unnecessary use of personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, and gloves. This makes the option of medical abortion through the abortion pill the preferred option, BUT here’s what you need to know.
The abortion pill, RU-486 (mifepristone and misoprostol) carries 4-5 times more complications for infection, undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy, failure to abort (women can still remain pregnant when abortion pill fails) and bleeding which will ultimately lead to emergent surgical intervention.
Medical abortions are done at home, they are self-administered without a medical doctor provider present. This is very unsafe because of the increased risk of bleeding and complications. Without a medical provider present, how will the woman know the seriousness of the complications of medical abortion?
Furthermore, if complications occur, the woman will have to be admitted to the emergency room where the provider has had no communication with the prescribing provider; this will grossly impact the transition of care and patient outcomes. Emergency rooms are overloaded with patients experiencing symptoms and testing positive for COVID-19, this puts the woman, who is already suffering complications from a medical abortion, at risk of exposure.
Medical abortions carry a risk of the woman becoming more susceptible to COVID-19. The abortion pill, RU-486, is an immunosuppressant. According to Dr. Doug Roberts, a rheumatologist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California Medical School, immunosuppressive drugs can increase the risks of decreasing the body’s ability to defend itself against many pathogens such as COVID-19.
The abortion pill has 4-5 times the likelihood of complications of hemorrhage, which can last two weeks or more. With COVID-19, there is a shortage of blood supply alongside other resources. If a woman has a complication, it can be life-threatening to the woman herself.
If you do have an unplanned pregnancy and you are in the midst of making a decision, there is hope! According to Dr. Christina Frances, OBGYN, there are studies coming out of China, the origin of the COVID-19, that confirm there is 0% evidence of vertical transmission – passing COVID-19 from the mother to the unborn. Testing has been done on amniotic fluid, placental tissue, and breast milk to support this to date. Even in the first trimester, findings show that there are no congenital anomalies even if a woman has been exposed or infected with COVID-19.
Furthermore, studies show decreased risks with pregnant women in comparison to those greater than 65 years of age, existing underlying comorbidities and those who are immunosuppressed.
If you are pregnant and having symptoms of COVID-19: cough, fever, temperature greater than 99.5 F, shortness of breath, respiratory symptoms, recent travel outside of the US, New York, New Jersey, the state of Washington, or have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, we encourage you to contact your local health care provider to be assessed.
Hospitals with specialized medical providers will provide safe, competent care and COVID-19 does not impact OBGYNs or medical providers from delivering safe, emergent care in the hospital setting.
At Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center, we are closely monitoring COVID-19 carefully by following the CDC guidelines.
Please text us at (858) 822-9335, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our clinic at 858-397-1970 to speak with our medical staff.
If our staff assesses you to be at risk, you will be asked to schedule your appointment to a future date for the safety of our staff and patients. We also have available TeleHealth and TeleOptionsCounseling appointments.