Being pregnant can be very stressful. Adding COVID-19 to the list can be overwhelming. It’s natural to be worried and curious about how the coronavirus might affect your pregnancy. We are here to provide you with the necessary information to keep you “in the know” during this uncertain time.
How Does COVID-19 Affect Pregnant Women?
During the SARS and H1N1 outbreaks, pregnant women were known to experience more severe symptoms. Researchers are still learning how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and their unborn children.
Based on current data, women who are pregnant do not experience more severe symptoms than the average person. Some pregnant woman who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have had preterm births, but it wasn’t determined that it was because of COVID-19. Based on research thus far, it is not likely that the virus is spread to the fetus through pregnancy, labor or delivery.
How Can You Protect Yourself From COVID-19?
As you most likely already know, the coronavirus spreads primarily through person-to-person contact. Take these steps to protect yourself.
- Practice Social Distancing.
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- If you do need to go out, stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
- If you know someone who may be sick, abstain from being around them.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds.
- Clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub until your hands feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
What are the Warning Signs?
Knowing the warning signs is crucial if you want to make sure the virus doesn’t spread. If you are feeling any of the following symptoms, you should get tested for the virus and quarantine until you receive the results.
- Shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- A new loss of taste or smell
Based on current data, women who are pregnant do not experience more severe symptoms than the average person.
If You Are Infected, What Changes?
Expecting mothers should not expect significant changes if diagnosed with COVID-19. First, discuss all options with your OBGYN. Your birth plan should not need to change. Giving birth in a hospital is still the safest place for you and your baby. Hospitals are cleaned and sanitized regularly, whereas homes (for home birth) may not be.
During labor, you will need to wear a mask. Your hospital may not allow any visitors in the room to reduce the risk of spreading. Once born, you may choose to keep your baby with you, but choosing temporary separation may be the best choice as to minimize risk of spreading the disease. If you have breastfeeding in your birth plan, you can use a breast pump to provide milk to your child while they are not in your physical presence.
Please consult with your doctor before using any over-the-counter medications to treat your symptoms.
Follow the CDC Guidelines
COVID-19 was not in anyone’s birth plan. However, it is the current reality. Thousands of researchers are still experimenting and gathering results to provide the most up-to-date information.
Stay tuned to the CDC for any updates to the pandemic and be sure to maintain communication with your physician for any necessary alterations to your birth plan.
*This blog is for general informational purposes only. Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A. does not distribute medical advice through this blog. As such, this blog does not constitute a patient-client relationship between the reader and Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A.