COVID-19 and pregnancy: the latest research
There is no evidence that being pregnant makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19 than someone who isn’t pregnant. However, pregnancy can increase your risk of respiratory illness.
Hormonal fluctuation, increased blood volume, and more can worsen the effects of pre-existing conditions like asthma or introduce new symptoms. Pregnancy is stressful to the body, and viruses like the common cold, flu, and COVID-19 may hit you harder than others.
The best way to stay healthy is to avoid coming in contact with the virus, so it’s important to do what everyone else is doing, but be extra diligent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend:
- Wash your hands frequently for a full 20 seconds
- Stay home if possible, and at least six feet away from others when you’re in public
- Cover your sneezes and coughs, and throw tissues away immediately
- Disinfect all surfaces often
- Wear a protective mask
These are the guidelines for the general population, and whether you’re pregnant or not, you should comply. Make sure those in your household follow these rules as well.
Getting prenatal care during COVID-19
Regular prenatal care is essential during pregnancy, and you shouldn’t forego your prenatal appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team is taking extra precautions to ensure our patients stay safe.
Our facilities are thoroughly sanitized and high-touch surfaces are disinfected regularly. We are proud to go above and beyond the recommended disinfecting practices of the medical community to help keep moms and babies as healthy as possible.
Telemedicine is a growing offering because it allows you to participate in routine check-ins during pregnancy without leaving your home. This service allows your doctor to monitor your progress, answer your questions, and schedule an in-person appointment if necessary.
Caring for a newborn during COVID-19
The risk of your unborn baby contracting COVID-19 is very low, but after birth, infants are susceptible to infectious diseases. If you or another caregiver has the virus, even if you don’t have noticeable symptoms, you could pass it to your baby.
Our team recommends following all CDC guidelines and precautions outlined above to increase your chances of keeping yourself and your baby healthy. Ask your provider if you or others in your household could benefit from COVID-19 testing.
At this point, a very small percentage of newborn babies have tested positive for COVID-19. Little research is available, so we can’t say definitely when or how the infection occurred in those few cases.
Breastfeeding safely during COVID-19
While research on the topic of breastfeeding and COVID-19 is still limited, no data suggests that newborns can contract the virus from breastfeeding. In fact, breast milk is your baby’s first line of defense against viruses and illness. Your breast milk contains elements specially designed to build your infant’s immune system and protect against infectious disease.
The coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets, and there’s no evidence to suggest it can be transmitted through breast milk. However, it’s important to wear a mask when you breastfeed your baby to help protect them from your potentially infectious respiratory droplets.
Follow strict hygiene and sanitation procedures while you’re breastfeeding. If you need to pump breast milk, make sure you thoroughly clean all the parts before and after each session.
As a pregnant mother, you have a right to be concerned about COVID-19 and how it may impact your and your baby’s health. Adopting sensible hygiene habits, maintaining a safe social distance, and avoiding large gatherings is the best way to turn your concern into constructive self-care.
With the proper precautions, you can continue getting the essential prenatal care you need and follow your plans for labor, delivery, and caring for your newborn. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our OB/GYN team with any questions. Contact the office nearest you to request a telehealth or in-person appointment.