Is it safe for a woman to come to the hospital to deliver her baby?
Yes, we’ve taken several steps to minimize exposure of our pregnant
patients to COVID-19 including restricting visitors for all patients and
are requiring everyone in the hospital to wear masks. We also have a special
designated entrance for our pregnant patients and our labor and delivery
unit is separate from any designated COVID-19 space in the hospital.
What are the restrictions on visiting the new baby and mother?
Each patient delivering can have one person present with them during their
hospital stay. Unfortunately, we cannot allow for additional visitors
at this time.
Are pregnant women more at risk of infection? What precautions should they take?
We know that pregnant women are at higher risk for other infections such
as the flu because pregnancy suppresses the immune system. Some illnesses
can impact the health of the fetus, but the risks of COVID-19 are not
yet clear. Thus far, we have not noted vertical transmission from the
mother to the baby, so we believe that this risk is minimal. Take the
same precautions as everyone else including hand washing, not touching
your nose or face and maintaining social distancing with those that are
not in your household.
As a pregnant woman, do I need to isolate all together?
No, but minimizing exposure is always a good idea. You may want to consider
designating someone else to run errands such as grocery shopping for your
family if that is an option. It is still important that you attend your
prenatal care visits. If you need to go out, we recommend maintaining
6 feet from those that do not live with you.
What precautions should new moms take?
Right now, I would recommend having no visitors in your home to minimize
outside exposure. While it may not be the same, there are other ways that
you can connect with family and friends who want to see your baby. You
could use FaceTime or even connect in a meeting forum (some of my patients
are having their baby showers this way now!).
Can pregnant women pass COVID-19 on to their babies?
To date, the consensus from cases in the United States and abroad suggest
that there is no vertical transmission to the baby from a pregnant woman
that has COVID-19.
What are some coping mechanisms to deal with stress while pregnant?
Lately the weather here has been beautiful. Take advantage of that and
go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air. You could also do pregnancy yoga
in your home. If exercise is not your thing, use this time to connect
with friends and family online or enjoy a good book. If you are experiencing
more anxiety than you think you should, talk to your provider. Sometimes
getting the answers to your questions from a reliable source alleviates fear.
Is it ok to breastfeed during this time? What if I start to develop symptoms
It is still ok to breastfeed. COVID-19 is not transmitted into the breast
milk. If you start developing symptoms such as cough or mild shortness
of breath, you can continue to breastfeed, but I would recommend wearing
a mask and washing your hands before each feeding. This can minimize exposure
for your baby. Another option that you have is to isolate yourself from
your baby and pump instead. Your spouse or another caregiver could then
bottle feed and care for the baby while you are ill. I would also recommend
that you notify your provider of you are having symptoms.
When should a pregnant woman contact her doctor if she is having symptoms
Because pregnancy is considered a high-risk category, you should notify
your provider if you have a fever and/or cough, fatigue or difficulty
breathing. It is recommended that you get tested to see if you have the virus.
What about healthcare workers who are pregnant during all of this? What
kind of special precautions should they be taking?
Pregnant healthcare workers should take the same precautions as everyone
else including hand washing, not touching your face and social distancing.
In addition, they should be wearing a surgical mask and gloves when interacting
with patients. They should also not work outside of the home for the last
2 anticipated weeks of pregnancy.
What about sex and COVID? Is it OK? Should you do anything differently?
It’s ok to have sex with your spouse or partner that you live with.
You should avoid close contact, including kissing or sex, with anyone
outside of your household. COVID-19 has not yet been found in vaginal
fluid or semen but clearly there is close contact, and the virus could
be transmitted in other ways.
What if I get pregnant right now?
I think that it is likely we will see a lot of babies in 9 months so you
will not be alone! If you get pregnant, I would recommend avoiding contact
with people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus. Continue
hand washing, not touching your face and nose and social distancing when
in public to minimize your risk. New OB patients are seen in our office
or through telehealth visits at 10-11 weeks of pregnancy. If you have
any underlying conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, we would like
to establish care sooner so that we can review any medications you are
currently taking. Initial ultrasound and blood work would be completed
at the first office visit. You can call our office at 225-237-1880 to
schedule an appointment or speak with one of our nurses about your pregnancy.
Candace Moore, MD
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Obstetrics & Gynecology