If you’re pregnant, you may wonder how COVID-19 could affect you and your baby. Get your questions answered.
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you may wonder how the coronavirus/COVID-19 could affect you and your baby. The OB/GYNs, midwives and other staff providing obstetric care with Norton Healthcare are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. As the situation continues to evolve, patient safety remains our top priority. We have plans and protocols in place that are consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and we continue to update them as needed. Additionally, our obstetric providers are following recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Does a pregnancy make me more at risk for COVID-19?
According to the CDC, you have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you’re pregnant. . Certain underlying medical conditions such as age or occupation can add to your risk for developing severe illness. However, much remains unknown. The changes in a person’s body during pregnancy may increase the risk of some infections. Being pregnant carries a higher risk of developing complications from viral respiratory infections such as the flu.
It’s always important to protect yourself from illnesses while pregnant. If you’re pregnant, you can follow the same precautions as everyone else to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is especially important for pregnant people, and those who live or visit with them, to steps to protect themselves from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Can I pass COVID-19 to my baby in the womb or through breast milk?
According to the CDC, mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread. The virus has not been detected in amniotic fluid or breast milk. A very small number of babies have tested positive for the virus shortly after birth. However, it is unknown if these babies got the virus before or after birth.
Does COVID-19 increase the risk of birth defects, complications or miscarriage?
Pregnant people with COVID-19 also might have a higher risk of delivering before 37 weeks and other complications. It’s unclear if COVID-19 poses any risk of birth defects..
If I’m pregnant, should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine strongly recommends pregnant patients have access to the vaccine. Likewise, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination. There are many vaccines that are given safely during pregnancy, and we have not received any information about the COVID-19 vaccines that would suggest they cause an issue. Be sure to talk to your OB/GYN or midwife to discuss what’s best for you and your baby.
Do I need to stay away from my baby if I have COVID-19 or think I could have COVID-19?
The risk that a newborn will get COVID-19 from their mother appears low, especially when the mother takes steps such as wearing a mask and washing hands when caring for the newborn. Discuss with your health care provider the risks and benefits of having your newborn stay in the same room with you.
Should I breastfeed if I have COVID-19?
Current evidence suggests that breast milk is not likely to spread the virus to babies.
You, along with your family and health care providers, should decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding. Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most babies.
Should I keep my prenatal and postnatal appointments?
Your prenatal and postnatal care is important for your health and your baby’s. We urge all pregnant patients who are well to attend their appointments. If, however, you are pregnant and have symptoms of possible coronavirus infection, call your OB/GYN or midwife for advice. You may need to delay your routine visits.
Can someone come with me to my prenatal and postnatal appointments?
Please refer to our visitor policy for the latest information before you visit.
It’s time to go to the hospital. Will my delivery be affected by visitor policies?
We understand the unique need of families during the birth of a child. Please refer to our visitor policy for the latest information before you visit.
Should I make any changes to my labor and delivery plan?
Talk with your OB/GYN or midwife about your labor and delivery plan. It’s likely that there will be no need to change the timing or delivery method (vaginal birth or C-section) for your delivery.
If you are sick with COVID-19, your OB/GYN or midwife and other care team members will wear masks and take steps to prevent the spread of the virus before, during and after your delivery.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, hospitals have adjusted their policies. Please check with your OB/GYN to understand any hospital policy changes that may affect your birth plan. Be sure to mention if you are planning to have a doula present during your delivery.
Coping with stress
Pandemics can be stressful for everyone. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both adults and children. Coping successfully with stress will make you and the people you care about stronger.
Depression during and after pregnancy is common and can be treated. Postpartum depression is depression that can happen after having a baby. If you think you may be experiencing depression, seek treatment from your health care provider as soon as possible. Find more information on depression during and after pregnancy.