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Being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic

Pregnancy can be a stressful time for every woman. Being pregnant can be downright terrifying during a pandemic. These are answers to many questions you may have about COVID-19 and pregnancy. These are sound, medical facts. Please keep in mind that data about COVID-19 and pregnancy is changing quickly.

General information and protection

  • It’s best to wash your hands often with soap and water. You must wash for at least 20 seconds.
  • It’s good to use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
  • Don't touch your face. Chiefly your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home.
  • Wipe down all surfaces that are touch the most in your home. Use a cleaner that kills viruses. You can use 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water. Wipe down things like:
    • Countertops
    • Faucets
    • bathroom sinks
    • toilets
    • door knobs
    • light switches
    • phones
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you.
  • Don't be around people who are sick.
  • Wear a mask when you go outside of your home. Wearing a mask will remind you not to touch your face. It will also protect others in case you have the virus.

Symptoms most often start 2-14 days after you came into contact with the virus. They can be:

  • Fever of 100.4° or higher
  • Cough
  • Feeling very tired or worn out
  • Body aches
  • Hard to breathe
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Loose stools
  • Call your provider that is caring for your pregnancy. This can be an OB, Midwife, Nurse Practitioner, or Family Medicine doctor.
  • Stay home! Stay away from other people in your household. Sleep and eat in your own room, use your own bathroom.
  • Rest and drink plenty of water
  • Pay attention to your symptoms carefully: check for a fever at least twice a day
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) for body aches or fever. Do NOT take ibuprofen. This is not safe to use in pregnancy and may cause COVID-19 to worsen.
  • Seek care right away. Call 911 if you have:
    • Fever of 101° or higher
    • Have trouble breathing
    • Have pain or pressure in your chest
    • Have bluish lips or face
    • Are not feeling normal fetal movement
    • Are having more than 5 contractions per hour
    • Have leaking of fluid or blood from your vagina
  • Wear a face mask if you must leave your home
  • Call their doctor for any special guidance or recommendations for testing
  • The sick person must stay away from everyone. They should sleep and eat in their own room and use their own bathroom.
  • Have them wear a face mask when they are in the same space as others
  • Right away, wipe off any surfaces that they touched
  • Do not share any household items such as dishes, towels and sheets.
  • Use gloves to handle any clothing, bedding and towels. Wash in hot water. If you touch these items, wash your hands for 20 seconds.
  • Keep pets away from sick persons. This is to avoid the pet spreading the virus on its fur.
  • Pay attention to their symptoms closely.
  • Treat fever or body aches with acetaminophen (Tylenol®). Do NOT take ibuprofen. This may cause COVID-19 to worsen.
  • Seek care right away. Call 911 if they have:
    • trouble breathing
    • pain or pressure in their chest
    • bluish lips or face
    • become confused or can’t wake them up

How to put on a face mask

  1. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
  2. Determine which side of the mask is the top.
    • The side of the mask may have a stiff bendable edge is the top. This this the top, and can be bent to the shape of your nose.
    • If no bendable edge, the top may have a ‘peak’ to note the top.
    • If neither, then the mask can be placed either way.
  3. Determine which side of the mask is the front.
  4. Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using:
    • Face mask with ear loops: Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.
    • Face mask with ties: Bring the mask to your nose level and tie at the back of your head. Then take the bottom ties and tie at your neck.
    • Face mask with bands: Bring the mask to your nose level and pull the top strap over your head so that it rests high your head. Pull the bottom strap over your head so that it rests on your neck.
  5. Mold or pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose.
  6. Make sure the bottom of the mask covers your mouth and chin.

How to remove a face mask

  1. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
  2. Avoid touching the front of the mask. The front of the mask may have COVID-19 droplets on it.
  3. Follow the directions below for the type of mask you are using. Only touch the ear loops/ties/bands.
    1. Face mask with ear loops: Hold both of the ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask.
    2. Face mask with ties: Untie the bottom bow first then untie the top bow and pull the mask away from you as the ties are loosened.
    3. Face mask with bands: Lift the bottom strap over your head first then pull the top strap over your head.
  4. Put the mask in the laundry to be washed with soap and water.
  5. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer

Pregnancy

Given the limited amount of information we have about COVID-19 infections during pregnancy, here’s the recommendation:   

Healthcare facilities should take care to limit the exposure of pregnant staff to patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.  It is especially recommended to avoid higher risk procedures in which an aerosol is generated. Procedures such as suctioning, ventilation, or mechanical oxygenation.   

Of course, you should always adhere to infection control guidelines regardless of if you are pregnant or not. While working, be sure to follow the risk assessment and infection control guidelines from the CDC.

The answers to the FAQs on this page have been written in plain language, appropriate for the general public. For answers specific to healthcare workers, click here

There are many changes in our bodies during pregnancy. There are some that can make it harder to fight infection. Many breathing illnesses can be worse for pregnant women. What we have learned so far is pregnant women don’t get any more sick than other people. In the US, pregnancy is a risk factor for severe disease with COVID-19. There is not enough health data to know for sure. Each case is very individual. 

We have early reports from China. These reports are about a very small number of pregnant women. Pregnant women in China did not show a higher than expected rate of problems. Problems are things like birth defects, miscarriage or stillbirth. 

There may be a higher risk of early birth for women that get very sick. There might also be a higher chance of needing a C-section. The reports showed women who delivered early were sicker with COVID-19.

There seems to be an increased risk for blood clots in the body for anyone sick with COVID-10. Pregnancy also increases the risk of blood clots. If you become infected with COVID-19, your provider may ask you to take medications to prevent blood clots.

Data in this area is very limited. So far there’s no reports of babies born with the virus in their bodies. Since this is a new virus, there is no data on long-term risks of maternal infection on the fetus.

Delivering my baby

There have been reports of newborns getting infected by the virus after birth. Unfortunately, there also have been some infant deaths from COVID-19. 

Strict isolation from the baby is the surest way to prevent your baby getting COVID-19 if you have it. This risk has to be balanced against the need for you to be with your baby and your baby to be with you. If you are infected when your baby is born and prefer not to isolate, we will teach you how to safely care for your baby. If you are too sick to care for your baby, we will make sure your baby is cared for well while you cannot.

Strict isolation from the baby is the surest way to prevent your baby getting COVID-19, if you have it. This risk has to be balanced against the need for you to be with your baby and your baby to be with you. If you are infected when your baby is born and prefer not to isolate, we will teach you how to safely care for your baby. If you are too sick to care for your baby, we will make sure your baby is cared for well while you cannot.

The coronavirus has not been found in breastmilk from infected women. It is thought that nursing is safe with strict precautions and breastfeeding is still recommended. Use the same strict precautions when pumping breastmilk or feeding with a bottle. We will teach you how to safely breast feed.

Our Birth Center is doing everything we can to lower the risks for you and your baby. This involves both how we provide prenatal care and how we care for you and your baby in the hospital

Please note that ambulance service may be slowed due to the pandemic. We do not usually recommend using an ambulance for labor but there are times when it is required. Please think about this when planning your delivery.

Unfortunately, we are limiting visitors and even family members. This is for the birth and all prenatal visits. We understand this is very disappointing. We feel it is the best way to protect your health and safety.

Resources for managing stress and anxiety

Other resources we recommend

Babycenter

This information about COVID-19 and pregnancy was jointly developed with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. They are a national organization of high risk pregnancy specialists.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

There is a lot of information about COVID-19 in general and COVID-19 and pregnancy here.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

ACOG is the largest national organization for doctors that are trained in Obstetrics & Gynecology in the US.

Prenatal care

Services and care during pregnancy

Social services

Help with food, shelter and other services

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