Information and guidance around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and we understand that this may prompt some questions regarding the safety of expectant mothers. We are here to provide you with answers.
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus spreads when droplets from an infected person—through coughs, sneezes and saliva—are picked up during close contact. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include those similar to influenza, such as cough, difficulty breathing and fever.
Does COVID-19 pose a risk to my baby?
Current research does not yet determine if pregnant women are at greater risk of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public, or if a pregnant woman with a confirmed case of COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy, delivery or after birth. We do not know at this time what if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19. According to the CDC, there have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery (e.g. preterm birth) in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal infection.
What steps should I be taking?
As pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections, it is always important that they protect themselves from illnesses. Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection:
- Cover your cough with your elbow or a tissue, and throw that tissue away
- Avoid people who are sick—transmission is through the droplets (coughs, sneezes, saliva) of infected people
- Practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from others
- Clean your hands often, using either soap and water for at least 20 seconds or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Most importantly, pregnant patients who have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or who are experiencing respiratory symptoms should notify their physician immediately.
What can I expect at a care facility?
If arriving to a facility for an appointment or delivery, patients should notify the obstetric unit prior to arrival so the facility can make appropriate infection control preparations. Any mother with a confirmed case or who is symptomatic will be supported in taking possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant.
While much is still unknown about COVID-19, the health and safety or our pregnant patients is and has always been our top priority. Every birth is unique and we will continue to ensure a safe environment for the most important moments in a mother’s life.