COVID-19, Pregnancy, & Breastfeeding. What you need to know.
Staying informed is important, so we've put together some information for our mommies to be. This information is as of April 3rd and provided by The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and CDC.⠀
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new illness that affects the lungs and breathing. It is caused by a new coronavirus. Symptoms include fever, cough, and trouble breathing. It also may cause stomach problems, such as nausea and diarrhea, and a loss of your sense of smell or taste. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after you are exposed to the virus.
How does COVID-19 affect pregnant women?
Current reports show that pregnant women do not have more severe symptoms than the general public. But researchers are still learning how the illness affects pregnant women. Doctors urge pregnant women to take the same steps as the general public to avoid coronavirus infection.
How can COVID-19 affect a fetus?
It’s too early for researchers to know how COVID-19 might affect a fetus. Some pregnant women with COVID-19 have had preterm births, but it is not clear whether the preterm births were because of COVID-19. It is not likely that COVID-19 passes to a fetus during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, but more research is needed.
How will COVID-19 affect prenatal and postpartum care visits?
As the virus spreads, it is a good idea to call your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional to ask how your visits may be changed. Some women may have fewer or more spaced out in-person visits. You also may talk more with your health care team over the phone or through an online video call. This is called telemedicine or telehealth. It is a good way for you to get the care you need while preventing the spread of disease.
If you have a visit scheduled, your care team’s office may call you ahead of time. They may tell you about telemedicine or make sure you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 if you are going in to the office. You also can call them before your visits if you do not hear from them.
What should pregnant women do to avoid the coronavirus?
The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person contact. Pregnant women can take the same steps as other people to protect themselves, including
washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
cleaning hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if you can’t wash them (rub until your hands feel dry)
avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
staying home as much as possible
staying at least 6 feet away from other people if you need to go out
avoiding people who are sick
Should pregnant women wear a mask or face covering?
As of April 3, the CDC says all people, including pregnant women, can wear a cloth face covering when they are in public to slow the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings are recommended because studies have shown that people can spread the virus before showing any symptoms. See the CDC’s tips on making and wearing a face covering.
Wearing a cloth face covering is most important in places where you may not be able to stay 6 feet away from other people, like a grocery store or pharmacy. It also is important in parts of the country where COVID-19 is spreading quickly. But you should still try to stay at least 6 feet away from others whenever you leave home.
If you have COVID-19 or think you may have it, you should wear a mask while you are around other people. You also should wear a mask if you are taking care of someone who has COVID-19 or has symptoms. You do not need to wear a surgical mask or medical-grade mask (N95 mask).
How can I manage stress, anxiety, and depression?
Some pregnant and postpartum women may be feeling fear, uncertainty, stress, or anxiety because of COVID-19. Reaching out to friends and family during this time may help. Phone calls, texts, and online chats are safe ways to stay connected.
There also are treatment and support resources you can access over the phone or online. Talk with your ob-gyn or other health care professional about how to get help if you’re having symptoms like these:
Feeling sad, hopeless, worthless, or helpless
Having fear or worry, which may cause a fast heartbeat
Feeling that life is not worth living
Having repeated, scary, and unwanted thoughts that are hard to get rid of
If you are in crisis or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, call 911 right away. See the Resources section for other support options, including helplines you can text or call and online support groups for pregnant and postpartum women.
Physical activity also may help your mental health. And it may be useful to focus on your breathing each day, especially if you are feeling anxious. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and breathe out for 8 seconds. Repeat three times.
What should I do if I am pregnant and think I have COVID-19?
If you think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus and have a fever or cough, call your ob-gyn or other health care professional for advice.
If you have emergency warning signs, call 911 or go to the hospital right away. Emergency warning signs include the following:
Having a hard time breathing or shortness of breath (more than what has been normal for you during pregnancy)
Ongoing pain or pressure in the chest
Being unable to respond to others
Blue lips or face
If you go to the hospital, try to call ahead to let them know you are coming so they can prepare. If you have other symptoms that worry you, call your ob-gyn or 911.
What should I do if I am pregnant and diagnosed with COVID-19?
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, follow the advice from the CDC and your ob-gyn or other health care professional. The current CDC advice for all people with COVID-19 includes the following:
Stay home except to get medical care. Avoid public transportation.
Speak with your health care team over the phone before going to their office. Get medical care right away if you feel worse or think it’s an emergency.
Separate yourself from other people in your home.
Wear a face mask when you are around other people and when you go to get medical care.
We also recommend checking the CDC website for any additional updates that may be posted, as information may change or be updated. ⠀
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our team. We are here for you!⠀
Telemedicine appointments are available. To schedule, contact our office.
FAQ511. Copyright April 2020 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Link