Pregnancy During COVID-19: What Do I Need To Know?
Planning a pregnancy and birth during the COVID-19 pandemic can be stressful. Knowing what to expect from a regular pregnancy and what the current evidence is regarding COVID-19 and pregnancy is imperative. Doing so is vital to increase safety and decreased anxiety of expecting parents.
8 FAQs About Pregnancy and COVID-19
1. I’m pregnant with COVID-19. What are my chances of becoming very ill?
Little is known about the effects of COVID-19 and pregnancy. We do know that pregnant people are at greater risk of getting sick from other respiratory viruses than people who are not pregnant. This has been known to cause adverse reactions to both parent and child.
2. Am I at a higher risk of getting COVID-19 while pregnant?
Currently, there is no evidence that being pregnant increases your risk of getting Covid-19. If a pregnant person does become infected, they are more likely to need to be admitted into the hospital and put on a ventilator than a woman infected who is not pregnant. Pregnant and non-pregnant women are equally as likely to recover.
If you are a health care worker and pregnant, please discuss your concerns with your supervisor. There are currently no US guidelines restricting pregnant people from caring for patients infected with COVID-19. You may want to consider finding ways to limit your exposure to infected patients, if at all possible.
3. Does my risk of complications or miscarriage go up if I get COVID-19?
There have not been any documented cases of miscarriage or complications directly related to COVID-19. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does state that pregnant women who get COVID-19 may have a higher risk for some complications, such as preterm birth. However, this information is limited, and we don’t know if the infection is the direct cause of preterm birth.
4. What are the risks of my baby getting COVID-19 if I become infected?
Studies are extremely limited. As of July 2020, this is the information that has been gathered:
- The virus was not present in amniotic fluid, the babies’ throats, or in breast milk in a study of 9 pregnant women who were infected with COVID-19
- Another study of 38 women infected with COVID-19 found that none of the newborns tested positive for the disease.
- Two cases have been reports of infants having antibodies with no evidence of infection.
- Another case report analyzing 33 pregnant women infected found three confirmed COVID-19 infections in their babies. It is unclear whether these newborns were infected while in the womb or if they were infected after birth, as the newborns were already days old before being tested. It has not been ruled out that it could be passed from mother to child in utero, although this risk appears to be very low, and there is no evidence of any negative effects due to the mother being infected.
5. I’m worried about being exposed to COVID-19. Should I continue to have prenatal visits?
Many care providers are offering telehealth visits. We suggest you speak to your care provider and ask if you should purchase a blood pressure cuff, thermometer (you should have one if you’re expecting a baby!), and maybe a small Doppler to hear your baby’s heartbeat. Prenatal visits are important to ensure maternal and fetal health. It is recommended that you discuss with your care provider any concerns you have about your health or your baby’s. It is also recommended that you continue to attend your appointments as recommended by your provider.
6. Will the doctor be available when I’m ready to give birth?
This is a good question for the hospital you plan to birth at. Most hospitals have an emergency plan and don’t necessarily expect OB/GYNs to be part of the emergency response team. Ask your doctor what the protocol is at the hospital you will be birth in.
7. Will I be discharged from the hospital earlier if giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic?
All medical staff are working hard to ensure that your risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is low. Hospitals are doing everything they can to limit the hospital stays. All COVID-19 patients and suspected patients are quarantined and workers are required to wear protective gear with every visit and check-in.
8. Can I breastfeed my baby if I have COVID-19? What if I have no symptoms?
Currently, there is no evidence of the virus in breast milk. Given that the virus is spread through respiratory droplets, mothers should wash their hands and consider wearing a mask to minimize exposure to their baby. Furthermore, the CDC states that handwashing and wearing a face mask should minimize risks to the infant.
For more information, please visit the source of this article at https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pregnant-and-worried-about-the-new-coronavirus-2020031619212#q3.
Know what to expect from a pregnancy at “normal” time, while keeping up with COVID-19 updates.
Doulas and COVID-19
Doulas have been adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of everyone. For times like these, a virtual doula may be the best option.
In person Doula vs Virtual Doula
The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) website defines a doula as a birth coach or aide who gives continued emotional and physical support to a woman during labor and childbirth. That can be possible in person and virtually with the endless technologies available.
Virtual Doula and Coronavirus
During this global coronavirus pandemic, it might just make the most sense to hire a virtual doula regardless if you are planning your birth at a hospital, birth center, or at home. With the current access to technology, statistics show that having a virtual doula can be just as beneficial as having someone physically in the room with you.
The Statistics of Hiring a Doula
Doula support has been shown to reduce the risk of a surgical birth by up to 50%. Moreover, being supported by a doula relates to over 30% reduced need for forceps or vacuum births, and a 31% reduced risk of an unsatisfactory birthing experience.
Doula support has also been shown to reduces requests for an epidural by up to 60%. Other reasons why having a doula can be invaluable is what they offer:
- A continuous presence
- Encouraging Words
- A caring heart
- Explanations of what is happening in a way you and your birth team/partner can understand
- Reminds you to acknowledge your breathing and relaxation skills and makes suggestions like position changes
- Follows your birth plan as the situation allows
- Works with you to prepare mentally as well as physically for birth
- Offers postpartum support to include counseling as necessary
- Birth Plan Session
- Postpartum Plan Session
- Childbirth Education Classes
- Virtual Consultations
- Text and email support
- Virtual Labor Visit & continuous Virtual Support through labor, birth, and beyond
- Virtual Postpartum Visits
As you can see, all the above can be done in-person or virtually. Knowing what to expect from pregnancy at a “normal” time will help your understanding of what modifications will be doable and safe for times like this. As a local doula in Port St Lucie, FL, I also believe that caution is imperative currently. That being said, hiring a virtual doula is a very safe and important consideration to take during the current pandemic.
The information contained on this site should not be construed as medical advice nor should it replace the advice and individual care of your health care provider.
Hi, I’m Susan Finazzo! I’m a certified Birth Doula, Birth coach, and Childbirth Educator from Port St Lucie, Florida. In addition to that, I am also a Faith-Based Counselor. I have over 10 years experience helping women having a positive birthing experience and would love to make a difference on yours too!