If you’re pregnant, you may wonder how novel coronavirus (COVID-19) could affect you and your baby. Get your questions answered.
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you may wonder how COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, could affect you and your baby. The OB/GYNs, midwives and 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.
Are pregnant women more at risk for COVID-19?
According to the CDC, there is limited evidence about how the virus affects pregnant women. Currently, the CDC does not know if pregnant women have a greater risk of getting COVID-19 or if they are more likely to become seriously ill if they do get COVID-19. However, the changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy may increase the risk of some infections. Women have a higher risk of developing complications from viral respiratory infections such as the flu.
It’s always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses. Pregnant women can follow the same precautions as everyone else to protect themselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Can I pass COVID-19 to my baby in the womb or through breast milk?
According to the CDC, no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for COVID-19. The virus was not detected in samples of amniotic fluid or breast milk in these small number of cases. However, it’s still unknown if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy or delivery.
Does COVID-19 increase the risk of birth defects, complications or miscarriage?
It’s unclear if COVID-19 poses any risk of birth defects, complications during pregnancy or birth, including miscarriage. The CDC reported there have been a small number of cases of mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 and gave birth prematurely. However, it is unknown if that was because of the infection or other circumstances with those pregnancies.
Do I need to stay away from my baby if I have COVID-19 or think I could have COVID-19?
Our infectious disease specialists recommend that mothers with COVID-19 should be separated to reduce the risk of transmission. While this is extremely difficult, not a lot is known about infants and COVID-19, and it’s better to be safe.
Should I breastfeed if I have COVID-19?
Breast milk can provide a baby with the best source of nutrition and protection from many illnesses. The CDC gives guidance on the rare exceptions when mothers shouldn’t breastfeed. If you test positive or suspect you have COVID-19, you should use an electric or manual pump and have someone else feed your baby. Be sure to thoroughly clean the pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions after each use.
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 women who are well to attend to their care as normal. However, if you are pregnant and have symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection, call your OB/GYN or midwife for advice. You may need to delay your routine visits until the COVID-19 isolation period is over.
Can someone come with me to my prenatal and postnatal appointments?
At this time and for the safety of everyone involved, we are limiting the number of people who can be in our offices. Patients only will be allowed at appointments. While we understand this is not preferable, it is in the best interest of everyone. We encourage expectant mothers to utilize Facetime or other video conferencing to allow a significant other to be involved. If you require support during your visit, please contact your provider’s office before your appointment. You will be asked to complete a health screening before you are seen.
It’s time to go to the hospital. Will my delivery be affected by visitor policies?
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Norton Healthcare has updated our visitor restrictions. We’ll have only two entry points at every hospital. One will be a main entrance or a place that can serve as a main entrance. The other will be the emergency department. All visitors will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, respiratory issues and flu-like symptoms. If a visitor has symptoms, they will not be allowed into the hospital.
We understand the unique need of families during the birth of a child. Obstetric patients may have one partner and one birth support person accompany them. Please refer to our visitor restrictions, posted on our website for the latest information before you visit.