How does COVID-19 impact pregnant women? (Answers from experts)
Q: Is it safe for me to come to the hospital to give birth?
A: We are unwavering in our commitment to providing you with a safe place to give birth. Extensive precautions are taken with every patient to prevent the spread of infection. Our staff are trained on how best to prevent infection, as well as to be able to provide the labor support and guidance you need during your birth. In addition, we are prepared to respond to any complications that may occur during labor and birth for both healthy women and those that have higher-risk pregnancies.
Q: As a pregnant woman, should I be tested for COVID-19? Should my family be tested?
A: The CDC offers testing guidance for COVID-19 here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), call your healthcare provider right away.
Q: As a pregnant woman, am I considered higher risk for COVID-19?
A: We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result.
Please reach out to your obstetrician or midwife for definitive guidance.
Q: What should I do if I’m pregnant and test positive for COVID-19?
A: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your healthcare provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Q. Can I pass COVID-19 to my baby during pregnancy?
A: We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her baby during pregnancy or delivery.
Q: How can I protect myself and my unborn baby from COVID-19?
A: At this time, there’s no vaccine for COVID-19, but there are ways to protect yourself and your family from exposure to the virus. Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection:
- Stay home when you’re sick and avoid people who are sick
- Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique)
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
- Clean and disinfect objects you touch regularly and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Use hot, soapy water or a dishwasher to wash dishes and utensils.
- Talk to your health care provider about your health and risk of COVID-19
Q: Should I go to my next OB appointment, and will my experience be different in the midst of COVID-19?
A: It is very important to make your OB appointments. Please contact your OB to determine what that will look like. Telemedicine has made it possible to have virtual appointments; however, you will need to check with your own provider for direction.
Q: Is it still safe to have an ultrasound?
A: Contact your delivery provider for specific advice on attending your ultrasound. If you do have an ultrasound, most offices are trying to limit the number of people in the office space in order to decrease the potential spread of the virus. You may wish to ask for pictures to take home to show your family.
Q: Does having COVID-19 increase the chance of birth defects or lead to higher birth complications?
A: We do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.
A high fever in the first trimester can increase the chance of certain birth defects. If you get sick with COVID-19 or any other illness and develop a high fever, please speak with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Q: Does having COVID-19 during pregnancy make it more likely for me to have a miscarriage or go into pre-term labor?
A: Miscarriage can occur in any pregnancy. Studies have not been done to see if having COVID-19 during pregnancy could increase the chance of miscarriage.
Q: I am early in my pregnancy and was looking forward to a tour of the hospital. Can I still participate in a tour?
A: If your facility is not allowing visitors, in-person tours with individual patients or groups of patients will be cancelled to minimize exposure to our patients, visitors, and colleagues. Many facilities are offering virtual tours or virtual “Zoom” meetings in lieu of in-person tours.
Q: I was scheduled to attend classes next week, can I still attend? How will I know what to do in labor if I haven’t attended a class?
A: If your facility is not allowing visitors, in-person classes with individual patients or groups of patients will be cancelled to minimize exposure to our patients, visitors, and colleagues. Many facilities are offering live, educator-led webcasts, virtual classes or in lieu of in-person classes. Southern Hills Hospital is not currently holding classes or tours, but virtual tours have been placed on social media and the website. The virtual tour can be found at southernhillshospital.com.