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COVID-19: Your Pregnancy Questions Answered

COVID-19: Your Pregnancy Questions Answered

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 while breastfeeding?
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 of COVID-19?
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 MooreCandace Moore, MD
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Obstetrics & Gynecology

(225) 237-1880

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