We are living through a very uncertain and stressful time. If you’re pregnant or have a newborn, your level of anxiety is probably escalated beyond most (and rightfully so). At All About Women, our staff is here to help you work through all of your questions, concerns and anxieties about pregnancy, delivery and caring for a newborn during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In an effort to help ease your concerns, here are the answers to 8 common questions we receive about pregnancy, breastfeeding and COVID-19.
1. Am I at a higher risk of getting COVID-19 because I’m pregnant?
According to the CDC, there is currently no evidence to suggest that pregnant women have a higher risk of getting COVID-19. However, pregnant women do have weaker immune systems, so they may experience more severe symptoms if they do get the coronavirus (the same is true with other viruses).
2. If I get COVID-19, will I pass it to my unborn baby?
Unfortunately, since this virus is so new, we don’t have a lot of information on how COVID-19 affects a fetus. However, similar viruses and bacteria don’t generally have major effects on an unborn baby if treated quickly. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) states: “It is not likely that COVID-19 passes to a fetus during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, but more research is needed.”
3. If I get COVID-19, do I have a higher risk of miscarriage or other complications?
So far, there has not been any evidence of an increased risk of miscarriage or complications due to COVID-19. There have been a few reports of preterm birth in women that have had COVID-19, but whether or not the virus caused the preterm labor is unknown.
4. Should I still go to my regular prenatal visits and risk exposure?
It is still important to monitor both you and your unborn baby during your pregnancy, so you do need to continue visits with your OB. However, many doctors have moved to video appointments (telemedicine) so that patients don’t have to go out in order to see their doctor and risk possible exposure.
Talk to your OB/GYN and insurance provider to see if you can do visits via telemedicine. If you do have to physically go see your doctor, most offices are having patients wait in their cars and bringing them directly into rooms when they’re available.
Check out this blog post to get the latest updates on how All About Women is handling appointments and care during the pandemic.
5. As a pregnant woman, how do I avoid COVID-19?
As you’ve probably heard many times already, washing your hands and not touching your face are the best ways to keep from getting the coronavirus. In addition, avoid people who are sick and don’t leave your home unless it’s necessary. If you do go out, keep that 6-foot distance from everyone and wear a mask if possible.
6. Is it safe to have my baby in the hospital during the pandemic?
Hospital staff and delivery wards are taking great care to minimize every possible exposure by limiting guests and isolating anyone that has any possible symptoms. In certain uncomplicated births, OBs may also allow mothers and newborns to be discharged earlier than normal.
7. Can my spouse be there for the birth?
In most cases, you are allowed to have 1 person with you during the delivery and afterward. Of course, they have to be screened for symptoms beforehand and probably wear a mask, but generally spouses are allowed to be with their wife and newborn.
8. If I get COVID-19, is it safe to breastfeed my newborn?
Breastfeeding provides babies with essential antibodies they need to fight off countless illnesses. There has been no evidence to suggest that the coronavirus is transferred through breastmilk, so it is considered safe and even encouraged to continue to give your baby breastmilk.
However, if you do develop COVID-19, you’d need to quarantine yourself from your baby (if they don’t have it), and then you could pump it and pass it off to whoever is taking care of them.
If you have any questions or concerns about the coronavirus and pregnancy or breastfeeding, reach out to your OB. At All About Women, we want you to feel calm and confident about your pregnancy and your newborn through these uncertain times. Schedule an appointment with one of our compassionate Florida midwives and obstetricians today.