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Frightened by Zika fever and afraid of the new COVID-19 variant, a Brazilian woman says no to another pandemic pregnancy

A field hospital in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 26, 2021. Brazil continues to set new COVID-19 records, killing up to 4,000 people each day. Miguel Sincariol / AFP by Getty Images “We must avoid pregnancy,” Rosa said of the possibility of becoming pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I don’t want a baby. What I experienced when I had Lyssa in 2017, God forbidden.” Rosa lives in Pernambuco, Brazil. Her first child, Lyssa, was born during a Zika epidemic. It is a mosquito-borne disease that causes severe birth defects when it develops during pregnancy. Between 2015 and 2017, about 3,700 babies were born in Brazil with an unusually small head deer-related congenital malformation. These babies are currently 4-7 years old. Some began to develop normally within a few years. However, others are facing great difficulty in eating, walking, talking, and seeing. They require highly specialized care and their families receive a small amount of government assistance. Pernambuco was one of the epicenters of Brazil’s Zika outbreak. Today, Brazil is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 13 million COVID-19 cases confirmed, nearly 400,000 dead, and no end. In the meantime, the Zika virus is still in circulation, but less common. For Rosa and many other women in Pernambuco, the idea of ​​navigating another pregnancy during the outbreak of another new infection can be very stressful. And their anxiety is beginning to manifest in Brazil’s willingness to become pregnant and reduce childbirth. Some children with microcephaly have difficulty swallowing. The relationship between Mauropiminter / AFP Zika fever and COVID via Getty Images I lead the DeCodE project, a study funded by the National Institute of Pediatric Health and Human Development. This project aims to help women of reproductive age understand childbirth attitudes, desires, {intention} ec: whether or not to change cuts, and how. And action during the crisis of new infectious diseases like Zika and COVID-19. COVID-19 and Zika are separate viruses with different modes of infection and health effects. Neither has ever been seen in Brazil. The novelty of these diseases creates extreme uncertainty about the risk of infection and the chaotic preventive response, especially for generally high-risk groups such as pregnant people and their babies. Our research group interviewed 3,998 women between the ages of 18 and 34 in Pernambuco throughout 2020. Since then, we have been monitoring them on a regular basis. These women are continuously navigating the development of new infections that substantially overlap with their reproductive age. In the early days of the Zika crisis, it was unclear whether the fetus in the womb could be infected with the virus. Later, fetal infection was confirmed, along with the risk of severe fetal abnormalities at birth. Only a few years later, COVID-19 introduces similar uncertainties. The specific risk of COVID-19 to pregnant people and their babies is not yet completely clear. Evidence suggests that in the early stages of the pandemic, pregnancy does not pose a significant risk in that it suffers from COVID-19 infection and worse symptoms than the general population. However, in June 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added pregnancy to the list of health conditions that increase the likelihood that COVID-19 patients will be hospitalized and admitted to the intensive care unit, based on several studies. .. There is evidence of increased stillbirth and preterm birth during the pandemic, but it is entirely clear whether these increases are due to SARS-CoV-2 infection or indirect effects such as stress and resistance to seeking medical care. It is not clear to. In July 2020, a Brazilian Kumarala midwife sprayed her pregnant daughter with herbs to strengthen her for a pandemic childbirth. Getty Images Tarso Sarraf / AFP Racial, Class, and Health Inequality In Brazil, uncontrolled infections cause more contagious and deadly mutations, with higher COVID-19 mortality in pregnant and postpartum women It has become. Hospitals have attributed an unusually large number of newborn deaths to COVID-19. On April 17, 2021, Brazilian authorities took the unusual step of asking women to avoid pregnancy. Of course, not everyone has complete control over their body. No matter how worried about the possibility of a pandemic pregnancy. In Brazil, quality medical and contraceptive options are less accessible to poor and black women than to white and wealthy women. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, black women with low socio-economic background have seen their medical care severely interrupted. According to our data, 58% could not find any kind of medical service when needed. In contrast, 23% of wealthy white women experienced similar negligence. Healthcare professionals will assist pregnant COVID-19 patients in the state of Para, Brazil, in July 2020. Tarso Sarraf / AFP via Getty Images And in a 2017 study I led during the Zika epidemic, wealthy Brazilian women reported having more autonomy with respect to socio-economic background. Determined than the lower one. Still, Brazilian women did their best to avoid childbirth during Zika fever. One of our studies showed a temporary birth loss of 10% nationwide and 28% in Pernambuco in November 2016, about a year after the association between Zika fever and birth malformations was established. I am. During COVID-19, women now seem to be doing the same. Half of the women we interviewed who want children said they intend to avoid pregnancy during the pandemic. According to a preliminary study conducted by my team, women who had or were near someone who had Zika were 11% more likely to say this. “I’m really scared to get pregnant,” Sonia, a 24-year-old woman from Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, said in an interview in May 2020. It’s a little bad. An analysis of preliminary data from Brazilian citizen registration confirms this. Approximately nine months after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Brazil, the number of births in January 2021 decreased by 12% compared to last year. However, this information is subject to change as the data is updated and government demographic data becomes available. Brazil’s 2020 census has been cancelled. Our study shows that the effects of epidemics go beyond mortality and health. For some Brazilian women of childbearing age, it changes their desire to be parents. [Over 104,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]This article has been republished by The Conversation, a non-profit news site aimed at sharing ideas from academic experts. Author: Letícia Martelet, University of Texas at Austin, Liberal Arts. Read more: Why the State Didn’t Break Out of Pandemic Preprint: How Draft Academic Papers Became Essential to the Fight against COVID Leticia Marteret is one of the National Institutes of Pediatric Health Development Eunice Kennedish River Health of the US Department of Health and Social Welfare, funded by the National Institute of Pediatric Health Development.

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