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Journal: American journal of obstetrics and gynecology


Pregnant and lactating women were excluded from initial COVID-19 vaccine trials; thus, data to guide vaccine decision-making are lacking.


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging disease with a rapid increase in cases and deaths since its first identification in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Limited data are available about COVID-19 during pregnancy; however, information on illnesses associated with other highly pathogenic coronaviruses (i.e., severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)) might provide insights into COVID-19’s effects during pregnancy.


During cesarean delivery in patients with placenta previa, hemorrhaging after removal of the placenta is often challenging. In this condition, the extraordinarily high concentration of tissue factor at the placenta site may constitute a principal of treatment as it activates coagulation very effectively. The presumption, however, is that tissue factor is bound to activated factor VII (FVIIa).

Concepts: Placental abruption, Obstetrics, Factor VII, Caesarean section, Placenta praevia, Placenta accreta, Childbirth


The obstetrics-gynecology community has issued a call to action to prevent toxic environmental chemical exposures and their threats to healthy human reproduction. Recent committee opinions recognize that vulnerable and underserved women may be impacted disproportionately by environmental chemical exposures and recommend that reproductive health professionals champion policies that secure environmental justice. Beauty product use is an understudied source of environmental chemical exposures. Beauty products can include reproductive and developmental toxicants such as phthalates and heavy metals; however, disclosure requirements are limited and inconsistent. Compared with white women, women of color have higher levels of beauty product-related environmental chemicals in their bodies, independent of socioeconomic status. Even small exposures to toxic chemicals during critical periods of development (such as pregnancy) can trigger adverse health consequences (such as impacts on fertility and pregnancy, neurodevelopment, and cancer). In this commentary, we seek to highlight the connections between environmental justice and beauty product-related chemical exposures. We describe racial/ethnic differences in beauty product use (such as skin lighteners, hair straighteners, and feminine hygiene products) and the potential chemical exposures and health risks that are associated with these products. We also discuss how targeted advertising can take advantage of mainstream beauty norms to influence the use of these products. Reproductive health professionals can use this information to advance environmental justice by being prepared to counsel patients who have questions about toxic environmental exposures from beauty care products and other sources. Researchers and healthcare providers can also promote health-protective policies such as improved ingredient testing and disclosure for the beauty product industry. Future clinical and public health research should consider beauty product use as a factor that may shape health inequities in women’s reproductive health across the life course.

Concepts: Sociology, Human, Hygiene, Feminine hygiene, Health care, Cosmetics, Personal care, Health


During the early months of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, risks to pregnant women of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection were uncertain. Pregnant patients can serve as a model for the success of the clinical and public health response during public health emergencies as they are typically in frequent contact with the medical system. Population-based estimates of SARS-CoV-2 infections in pregnancy are unknown due to incomplete ascertainment of pregnancy status or inclusion of only single centers or hospitalized cases. Whether pregnant women were protected by the public health response or through their interactions with obstetrical providers in the early pandemic is poorly understood.


The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus, is spreading globally at an accelerated rate, with a basic reproduction number (R0) of 2 - 2.5, indicating that 2 - 3 persons will be infected from an index patient. A serious public health emergency, it is particularly deadly in vulnerable populations and communities in which healthcare providers are insufficiently prepared to manage the infection. As of March 16, 2020, there are more than 180,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with over 7,000 related deaths. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been isolated from asymptomatic individuals, and affected patients continue to be infectious two weeks after cessation of symptoms. The substantial morbidity and socioeconomic impact have necessitated drastic measures across all continents, including nationwide lockdowns and border closures. Pregnant women and their fetuses represent a high-risk population during infectious disease outbreaks. To date, the outcomes of 55 pregnant women infected with COVID-19 and 46 neonates have been reported in the literature, with no definite evidence of vertical transmission. Physiological and mechanical changes in pregnancy increase susceptibility to infections in general, particularly when the cardiorespiratory system is affected, and encourage rapid progression to respiratory failure in the gravida. Furthermore, the pregnancy bias towards T-helper 2 (Th2) system dominance which protects the fetus, leaves the mother vulnerable to viral infections, which are more effectively contained by the Th1 system. These unique challenges mandate an integrated approach to pregnancies affected by SARS-CoV-2. Here we present a review of COVID-19 in pregnancy, bringing together the various factors integral to the understanding of pathophysiology and susceptibility, diagnostic challenges with real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays, therapeutic controversies, intrauterine transmission and maternal-fetal complications. We discuss the latest options in antiviral therapy and vaccine development, including the novel use of chloroquine in the management of COVID-19. Fetal surveillance, in view of the predisposition to growth restriction and special considerations during labor and delivery are addressed. Additionally, we focus on keeping frontline obstetric care providers safe while continuing to provide essential services. Our clinical service model is built around the principles of workplace segregation, responsible social distancing, containment of cross-infection to healthcare providers, judicious use of personal protective equipment and telemedicine. Our aim is to share a framework which can be adopted by tertiary maternity units managing pregnant women in the flux of a pandemic while maintaining the safety of the patient and healthcare provider at its core.


Evidence is accumulating that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increases the risk for hospitalization and mechanical ventilation in pregnant patients and for preterm delivery. However, the impact on maternal mortality and whether morbidity is differentially affected by disease severity at delivery and trimester of infection is unknown.


Endometriosis can have a profound impact on women’s lives, including associated pain, infertility, decreased quality of life, and interference with daily life, relationships, and livelihood. The first step in alleviating these adverse sequelae is to diagnose the underlying condition. For many women, the journey to endometriosis diagnosis is long and fraught with barriers and misdiagnoses. Inherent challenges include a gold standard based on an invasive surgical procedure (laparoscopy) and diverse symptomatology, contributing to the well-established delay of 4 to 11 years from first symptom onset to surgical diagnosis. We believe remedying the diagnostic delay requires increased patient education and timely referral to a women’s healthcare provider and a shift in physician approach to the disorder. Endometriosis should be approached as a chronic, systemic, inflammatory and heterogeneous disease that presents with symptoms of pelvic pain and/or infertility rather than focusing primarily on surgical findings and pelvic lesions. Using this approach, symptoms, signs, and clinical findings of endometriosis are anticipated to become main drivers of clinical diagnosis and earlier intervention. Combining these factors into a practical algorithm is expected to simplify endometriosis diagnosis and make the process accessible to more clinicians and patients, culminating in earlier effective management. The time has come to bridge disparities and minimize delays in endometriosis diagnosis and treatment for the benefit of women worldwide.


Coronavirus disease 2019, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As the pandemic evolves rapidly, there are data emerging to suggest that pregnant women diagnosed as having coronavirus disease 2019 can have severe morbidities (up to 9%). This is in contrast to earlier data that showed good maternal and neonatal outcomes. Clinical manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 include features of acute respiratory illnesses. Typical radiologic findings consists of patchy infiltrates on chest radiograph and ground glass opacities on computed tomography scan of the chest. Patients who are pregnant may present with atypical features such as the absence of fever as well as leukocytosis. Confirmation of coronavirus disease 2019 is by reverse transcriptase-polymerized chain reaction from upper airway swabs. When the reverse transcriptase-polymerized chain reaction test result is negative in suspect cases, chest imaging should be considered. A pregnant woman with coronavirus disease 2019 is at the greatest risk when she is in labor, especially if she is acutely ill. We present an algorithm of care for the acutely ill parturient and guidelines for the protection of the healthcare team who is caring for the patient. Key decisions are made based on the presence of maternal and/or fetal compromise, adequacy of maternal oxygenation (SpO2 >93%) and stability of maternal blood pressure. Although vertical transmission is unlikely, there must be measures in place to prevent neonatal infections. Routine birth processes such as delayed cord clamping and skin-to-skin bonding between mother and newborn need to be revised. Considerations can be made to allow the use of screened donated breast milk from mothers who are free of coronavirus disease 2019. We present management strategies derived from best available evidence to provide guidance in caring for the high-risk and acutely ill parturient. These include protection of the healthcare workers caring for the coronavirus disease 2019 gravida, establishing a diagnosis in symptomatic cases, deciding between reverse transcriptase-polymerized chain reaction and chest imaging, and management of the unwell parturient.


Oral contraceptives have been used by hundreds of millions of women around the world. Important questions remain regarding the very long-term cancer risks associated with oral contraception. Despite previous research important questions remain about the safety of these contraceptives: i) how long do endometrial, ovarian and colorectal cancer benefits persist for? ii) does combined oral contraceptive use during the reproductive years produce new cancer risks later in life? and iii) what is the overall balance of cancer among past users as they enter the later stages of their lives?

Concepts: Pregnancy, Colorectal cancer, Emergency contraception, Sexual intercourse, Birth control, Hormonal contraception, Menstrual cycle, Combined oral contraceptive pill