Information and guidance around the current strain of coronavirus (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. Symptoms may include those similar to influenza, such as cough, difficulty breathing and fever. 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. However, to date, no infants born to mothers with a confirmed case of COVID-19 have tested positive for the virus according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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
- Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
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, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, during feeding or other close contact with her newborn. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding will be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers.
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.