Local Doctors, Researchers Hope to Answer Unknowns About COVID-19 and Pregnancy

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Like most moms-to-be, Salma Grado is excited and a bit nervous expecting her first child.

Pregnancy always brings mixed emotions, but anxieties have been heightened by the unknowns surrounding the coronavirus.

“It’s a really unsettling time to be pregnant especially with your first child,” said expectant mother Salma Grado.

She’s been wearing a mask for weeks and limiting her exposure to people to keep her and her baby healthy.

When news first broke about the coronavirus, Grado went online to search for information regarding what effects the virus could have on her health and baby and found very little information available.

“It’s been really challenging to watch the stress on our pregnant patients,” said Dr. Jeff Livingston, OBGYN and CEO of MacArthur Medical Group in Irving.

“This is an unknown virus so there are unknown questions.”

It’s why Livingston and other North Texas OBGYNs, neonatologists and pediatricians are partnering with Cedar Health Research and Aspen Insights to track real time data of their pregnant patients and babies.

According to Cedar Health Research, their study can currently access the data from 30 different practices including 350,000 patients.

Right now that includes 35,000 pregnant women. Researchers hope more doctors and hospital systems will participate and expand the data pool.

Livingston said they’ll use the information to look for any trends if a mother contracts COVID-19.

“The things we would like to answer – would the miscarriage rate go up? Will there be an increase in fetal abnormalities? Will we see an increase in pre-term birth?,” said Livingston.

“The truth is coronavirus is a global problem and we feel doctors here in the community can contribute to that knowledge.”

Answers to some of the big questions surrounding the coronavirus and pregnancy will not come before Salma Grado’s baby boy arrives in a few weeks, but she’s remained healthy so far and is hopeful the study will help future moms-to-be.

“It’s new to everybody,” said Grado.

“Hopefully, when people look this up in the future, there’s going to be data that wasn’t there during this time.”

Cedar Health Research is hopeful the work could attract a COVID-19 vaccine trial to North Texas.

For more on their research, click here or visit

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