The health ministry has compiled measures to prevent pregnant women from being infected with COVID-19, sources have said.
The ministry will call on companies and business organizations to promote teleworking and staggered commuting, create an environment in which pregnant women find it easier to take leave when they feel unwell and take measures to prevent group infections among employees including such women, according to the sources.
In addition, the ministry will distribute a booklet detailing infection prevention measures to pregnant women through municipal governments.
The booklet will say there have been no reports that the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is prone to cause fetal abnormalities or lead to stillbirth or miscarriage.
But it will cite the possibility of pregnant women suffering severe symptoms if they get pneumonia, calling on them to take thorough measures to protect themselves from the virus, such as avoiding crowds and washing hands frequently, according to the sources.
The ministry plans to provide cloth masks to pregnant women through municipal governments, separately from a government program to distribute two such masks to each of the over 50 million households in the country.
Meanwhile, the Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine said Wednesday that it recommends postponing fertility treatment until COVID-19 is under control in Japan.
In a statement posted on its website, the society calls for treatments as artificial insemination, external fertilization and embryo transfer to be reconsidered until a preventive or curative medicine for the new virus is developed for use during pregnancy or the danger of its spread decreases.
The statement said pregnant women may suffer severe symptoms if they catch COVID-19 and that some drugs being tested on patients cannot be used during pregnancy.
The society also expressed concerns about the possibility of infections during hospital visits for fertility or other medical treatments.
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