We’ve been fielding questions from the Ovia Health community over the last couple months about COVID-19’s impact on women and families, including those trying to conceive. Here, our clinical team answers some of the most common questions.
Should I rethink trying to get pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic?
There is currently not enough clinical evidence to suggest that people should avoid becoming pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should start trying or continue trying to get pregnant. We recognize that there are non-clinical reasons to consider (e.g., financial circumstances) and the decision will be different for everyone. See our other FAQs for information about how COVID-19 impacts pregnancy, prenatal care, and labor and delivery.
What if I’m older?
For women, being 35 or older is considered Advanced Maternal Age (AMA) during pregnancy. If you’re 35 or older, that means your pregnancy is considered high risk and it can be more difficult to become pregnant in the first place. That said, a decline in fertility due to age (beginning around age 32) is usually considered in terms of years, and a few month delay should not make a big difference in your ability to conceive.
What if I have health conditions that are considered high-risk for COVID-19?
If you have any health conditions that put you at higher risk for a severe case of COVID-19, you might want to consider postponing pregnancy. You should be taking every precaution to avoid contracting COVID-19, and that includes staying clear of healthcare facilities, which is much more difficult if you become pregnant.
What if I’ve had complications in previous pregnancies?
If you’ve experienced complications in previous pregnancies, chances are you received a lot more facetime with your healthcare providers than the average pregnant woman. If you become pregnant again you’re at greater risk for another complicated pregnancy and thus will have a greater need for healthcare services. In an effort to limit the transmission of COVID-19, we’re all being advised to limit our exposure to healthcare facilities unless it’s absolutely necessary. For women who are likely to have high-risk pregnancies and will need regular medical attention, it might be a good idea to postpone becoming pregnant until healthcare facilities are better able to safely support you.
What if my cycle has been thrown off lately?
For women whose bodies and cycles are easily affected by stress, it could be difficult to conceive right now. Becoming pregnant can require good timing and a good sense of your cycle phases. Cycle irregularity or changes in cycle symptoms can make it more difficult to pinpoint ovulation and predict your fertile window. There are a lot of tools available at the drugstore (e.g., ovulation predictor kits, basal body temperature thermometers, etc.) that can help women track their cycles, but with current stay-at-home recommendations, most women won’t be making trips to the store. The Ovia Fertility app can help you better understand your cycle and your symptoms and can help you predict your fertile window, but for cycle irregularity it’s important to closely track and monitor all your symptoms. Even if you are tracking symptoms, it can still be difficult to know when you’re ovulating.
What else should I consider?
Becoming pregnant during a public health crisis like the one we’re experiencing now is a deeply personal decision, and the science and evidence about risks are still largely unknown. It’s important to think about possible clinical considerations, as well as financial concerns and your expectations for your pregnancy. If you couldn’t imagine a pregnancy without being surrounded by friends and family, having a baby shower, having a doula and multiple support people during labor and delivery, and your mom or friends helping you out after delivery, you might want to postpone.