Guidelines set for infected pregnant women

NHK has learned that two groups of obstetricians and gynecologists will release a joint set of guidelines for pregnant coronavirus patients staying at home in an effort to ensure their safety.

The move comes after an expectant mother in Chiba Prefecture who was infected with the coronavirus lost her baby after she was forced to give birth at home as she was unable to find a hospital that would accept her.

The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have decided to compile a statement outlining the specific conditions that require emergency hospitalization of such women along with other recommendations.

Under the guidelines, a COVID-positive pregnant woman who is staying at home is advised to contact her doctor or a local public health center in the following cases. If she experiences breathing difficulties more than twice in an hour; if her heartbeat rises to 110 or more per minute or her breathing rate increases to 20 or more breaths per minute; or if her blood oxygen level does not recover to normal within an hour even if she is resting.

The guidelines say an ambulance should be summoned immediately if an expectant mother finds herself unable to speak even a short sentence due to breathlessness or when her blood oxygen level drops to 92 percent or below.

The two groups of doctors plan to release the statement on their webpages and elsewhere shortly.