During Pregnancy What Risks will COVID-19 Bring

If you are pregnant or have just given birth to a baby, you may have a lot of questions about how COVID-19 affects you and your child. Researchers are still learning more about how the virus affects pregnant women and their babies. The following information will help you work with your healthcare team.

During pregnancy, what risks will COVID-19 bring to me?
Researchers do not know whether pregnant women are more likely to contract COVID-19. But pregnancy can cause changes in the immune system, which can worsen any viral disease. You should be extra careful to avoid getting sick during this period. Measures include:

Wear a mask in public places. Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose

Wash your hands often

Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available

Keep at least 6 feet away from everyone who is not a family member.

Keep away from the sick.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every day

Do not travel in non-emergency situations

What risks does my baby face?
Researchers are not yet fully aware of the risks COVID-19 poses to babies. They do know the following:

A high fever from any cause in the early stages of pregnancy may increase the risk of certain birth defects. If you have a fever, tell your healthcare provider: he or she will help you cool down.

There are only a few cases where babies have contracted COVID-19 within a few days of birth. But experts do not know whether the baby was infected with the virus in the mother’s womb, during or after delivery.

Since 2003, during the outbreak of other types of coronaviruses (such as MERS and SARS), cases of premature birth and low birth weight have occurred. But experts do not yet know whether these are COVID-19 risks.

During the MERS and earlier SARS outbreaks, abortions and stillbirths also occurred. But experts do not yet know whether these are COVID-19 risks.

Is it safe to attend a healthcare appointment?
Your healthcare team may change some of your appointments to phone or video chat. If you need to have blood tests, ultrasounds or other tests on site, you may need to come without a partner. Wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth, use hand sanitizer, and follow all the instructions of the medical staff to protect yourself from the virus. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, please call your doctor’s office first and then attend an appointment. They will provide you with instructions to follow.

What should I do if someone in my family has symptoms of COVID-19?
If your partner or other family member has symptoms of COVID-19, he or she should self-isolate. This means staying at home away from others. He or she should not share food, towels, sheets or other personal items. Frequently clean common surfaces such as door handles and countertops. If your partner is sick and your due date is approaching at this time, ask your healthcare provider how you can best manage yourself during labor. The doctor may give you special instructions.

Is it safe to give birth in a hospital or delivery center?
Medical institutions are taking many safety measures to prevent people from contracting COVID-19. Please consult your healthcare provider about the hospital or birth center you plan to use. Ask about where and how pregnant women, their partners and babies can be protected. Remember, your birth plan may need to be changed.

If you have COVID-19 and are giving birth, please call your healthcare provider or delivery agency before you arrive. Your hospital or birth center will take steps to protect those around you from infection. You need to wear a medical mask to cover your mouth and nose. You may stay in a special room to prevent the spread of infection. Your baby may need to be in a separate room after birth. Ask the hospital what will happen if you are pregnant and have COVID-19.

Before and after delivery, you will most likely be asked to limit the number of visitors in the hospital. This is important to reduce the risk of infection for everyone in the hospital. Follow the instructions of all healthcare professionals, including their instructions on how your home will prepare to welcome you and your baby home.

Is it safe to give birth at home?
The risk of giving birth at home is different for every woman and every pregnancy. Please discuss the benefits and risks of your pregnancy with your medical team. Delivery at home at this time may mean that emergency care may be delayed. If you plan to give birth in a hospital or delivery center, your healthcare provider may recommend that this is still the safest plan.

Is it safe to hold a baby or breastfeed?
The virus has not been found in the breast milk of women infected with COVID-19. But this virus can spread through coughing, sneezing and talking. If you have or may have COVID-19, wear a mask to hold your baby or breastfeed. Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose. Wash your hands often when taking care of your baby. Your provider may recommend that you extract breast milk and feed your baby by your partner. Wash your hands before and after using breast pump supplies. If you have COVID and want to breastfeed your baby, discuss the best way to protect your baby with your health care provider.

If I am positive for COVID-19, how should I take care of my baby ?
You need to isolate yourself to limit contact with your baby. You need to wear a mask and clean clothes when holding or feeding your baby. Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose. Within 7 to 10 days, you can extract and store breast milk to maintain your milk supply until you are no longer contagious. Or, you can extract the milk and let your partner use this milk to feed your baby.

Is it safe for visitors to see the baby or assist in nursing the baby?
For safety reasons, it is best to restrict visits, especially those who have traveled recently. People who travel are at higher risk of carrying the virus. Only the closest and healthy family members can have direct contact with the baby. Please don’t visit anyone who is sick. Healthy visitors should wear a mask, cover the nose and mouth, and keep at least 6 feet away from you and your baby. It is also best to limit contact with people who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. This includes the elderly and patients with certain diseases.

If the visitor wants to hold the baby, should wash  hands first. Wrap the baby with a blanket, and then remove the blanket. Then, the visitor should wash  hands. Visitors should not kiss or touch the baby’s face. This does not apply to the closest healthy family members.

Close family members should limit their contact with others and wash their hands before touching the baby.

 

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