We’re facing a very stressful situation right now with coronavirus, but if you’re pregnant, you may be feeling even more stress.
There are different factors to keep in mind during covid-19 if you’re pregnant. There are the health factors but also issues that come with hospitals being closed to visitors and many doctors not seeing patients for non-essential care.
The following are some things to know if you are pregnant right now as far as the pandemic, although keep in mind that it’s a very rapidly changing situation.
Does Covid-19 Increase the Risk of Complications or Miscarriage?
If you are pregnant, one of your biggest worries may be miscarriage or birth defects. However, as it stands right now, there isn’t evidence that if you get covid-19 while you’re pregnant that you’re at higher risk of these situations.
This does need to be taken within the context of the fact there are a lot of uncertainties surrounding this disease.
There have only been small studies to date that look at pregnant women and covid-19 infections.
For example, in one study of nine pregnant women infected and with symptoms, none of the babies showed any virus effects.
A separate study that looked at 38 women who were infected and pregnant with covid-19 found none of their babies tested positive for the disease.
A case report that analyzed 33 pregnant women infected with the virus found three of the newborns were infected and showed what was described as clinical signs of the infection, but it was possible the virus was acquired after birth.
Based on currently available information, Harvard Health says the risk of passing the infection to a fetus seems to be very low, and there is no current evidence of birth defects linked to a mother being infected.
Should You Keep Going to Your Prenatal Visits?
Doctor’s offices and clinics around the world have closed their doors for the time being, so what does that mean for your prenatal visits?
You should speak with your health care provider. Some are having patients come in as normal, while others are having patients wait longer between appointments. You may also be able to do telehealth appointments.
Most doctor’s offices should be taking careful precautions right now. This may mean disinfecting surfaces more often than normal, for example, and having patients with certain symptoms calling before they go to the office.
Could Covid-19 Affect Your Birth Plan?
If you’re going to be giving birth soon, it’s possible covid-19 could affect you.
Many hospitals and birthing centers have enacted new regulations right now, so you’ll need to check with your hospital.
There may be restrictions, for example, as far as who can go into the delivery room.
If you test positive for covid-19, your doctors and nurses will need to wear personal protective equipment, and during labor, you might not be allowed to walk around the hallways.
Some hospitals might also discharge you earlier than they would normally during this time.
What If You Are Covid-19 Positive Right Before Giving Birth?
According to guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, if infants are born to a mother with confirmed covid-10, the baby may need to be temporarily separated from their mother.
The baby, based on the same guidance, may also need to stay separately from other infants.
If You Have Covid-19 Can You Breastfeed?
If you plan to breastfeed and you’re positive for covid-19, there is currently no evidence of the virus in breastmilk.
According to health officials, since the virus spreads through respiratory droplets, you should wash your hands frequently, and when you’re with your baby you might want to wear a face mask.
If you’re very worried, another option is to express your milk and then have someone feed your baby for you.
Finally, some pregnant women are worried right now that if they give birth in the coming weeks, their OB/GYN might not be available because hospital staff could be diverted. As it stands right now there is no evidence that would be the case or need to be the case.
If you are concerned, you can speak to your hospital about what their plans are, but obstetrics is considered an essential part of health care, and you should have a doctor who is trained in obstetrics at the time your baby is born.
It is a worrying time for everyone, but if you have questions about your situation, don’t feel uncomfortable reaching out to your doctor.
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