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What Pregnant Women Need to Know About the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the news, many people have questions about what they should and shouldn’t do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

April 16, 2020
Bridget Houlihan

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the news, many people have questions about what they should and shouldn’t do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. It’s important that we all work together to employ safe practices such as social distancing and self-isolation at this time in order to stop the spread of this virus. But what about pregnant women who might be wondering if there are additional ways they can keep themselves and their babies healthy through this uncertain time?

We’ve put together a couple of ways you can ensure you and your family are safe throughout this ordeal, including how to stay healthy and make the right decisions for yourself and your baby.

If you are pregnant, sure to wash your hands often (or use hand sanitizer) and avoid those who are sick or under the weather.

How Can I Protect Myself from COVID-19?

Currently, the Center for Disease control (CDC) states that pregnant women seem to have the same risk to COVID-19 as the rest of the general population. Although when pregnant, women undergo changes to their bodies and hormone levels that can increase their risk of getting a serious infection. If you are pregnant, the CDC recommends that you avoid contact with sick people and that you maintain diligent hand washing or hand sanitizing. Practice social distancing and maintain appropriate space between yourself and others. It is also important to ensure your living and working space is disinfected to further limit possible exposure.

Is There a Chance of Mother to Child Transmission?

There is no evidence to suggest that mothers can transfer the disease to their child, as the virus is spread through respiratory infections. However there is the chance that a newborn can acquire the disease from another sick or infected person. In the small number of studies done, researchers found that women who were infected by the disease when they gave birth did not pass COVID-19 onto their child.  

If I Get COVID-19, Is There an Increased Chance of Complications?

Doctors have not documented an increased risk of miscarriage or other complications in whomen who have COVID-19 when they deliver. Although there are not enough studies completed for COVID-19, doctors found that when analyzing this information with regards to similar infections SARS and MERS, they found that women may be at a higher risk of preterm birth, but they cannot rule out other causes for this complication either.

Continue to speak with your doctor and maintain your prenatal visits. Image courtesy of NPR.

Should I Continue My Prenatal Visits?

It is important to stay in contact with your doctor throughout your pregnancy. Speak with your doctor to see if you can limit your time in the office by doing more telehealth consultations, or at least increase the time in between your visits.

Can Giving Birth in a Hospital Increase My Chance to Get COVID-19?

COVID-19 patients are isolated from other sections of the hospital, including the one you will deliver in. In order to reduce your risk further, talk to your doctor about leaving the hospital after your child’s birth earlier than you might under normal circumstances to return home.

Can I Breastfeed My Baby?

There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through breast milk, although to be safe it is best to wash your hands before feeding. If you test positive for COVID-19 and still want to breastfeed or express milk, make sure to wash your hands before, wear a face mask while breastfeeding, and ensure that breast pumps are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. You might want to have another family member feed the baby with pumped breast milk as well to decrease exposure.

Pregnant women need to ensure they follow the guidelines set out by the Center for Disease control and other experts. By looking out for each other and continuing with safe practices, we can ensure families will stay safe and healthy!

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