We don’t know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. At this time, no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In the small number of cases studied so far, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk. (CDC, “Pregnancy,” 2020).
High fevers during the first trimester of pregnancy can increase the risk of certain birth defects. (CDC, 2020)
Is there a different birthing plan if you test positive for the virus?
A woman’s birth plan will likely not need to change due to COVID-19. If a patient is ill during delivery, hospital staff may wear extra protective gear. The baby may then be separated from the mother after birth to lessen the chances of getting sick. (WHO, 2020).
Will hospitals’ labor and delivery rules about visitors change?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women who might deliver during the pandemic ask their doctor and the place where they plan to deliver about the current rules on visitors. (ACOG, 2020)
Should I breastfeed if I have COVID-19?
Breast milk is the healthiest food for most babies. A woman should ask her doctor if she can breastfeed if she has COVID-19. A mother with COVID-19 should wash her hands before touching her baby and wear a face mask. If she’s using a breast pump, the mother should wash her hands and clean the pump often. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more tips. If possible, have someone who isn’t sick feed the baby the breast milk from a bottle. (CDC, “Pregnancy,” 2020).
Can COVID-19 cause me to have my baby early?
A few moms with COVID-19 have had their babies early. But we don’t know yet exactly why this happened. (CDC, “Pregnancy,” 2020).
Are fewer OB visits/virtual visits OK?
Talk to your doctor to decide if you should come into the office or if you could talk over the phone. Many offices are trying to have fewer visits, but your doctor will be the best one to decide. Most tests can only be done in the doctor’s clinic.
Does having COVID-19 increase my chance of miscarriage or birth defects?
We don’t know at this time if COVID-19 could cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after it’s born, but we do know that high fevers during the first trimester of pregnancy can increase the risk of certain birth defects. (CDC, 2020)
What can I do to protect me, my family and my unborn child?
Pregnant women should do the same things as everyone else to try to not get sick.
To protect yourself and your unborn child:
· Stay away from sick people
· Stay home as much as you can
· Stay six feet away from other people, if you need to leave your home
· Wash your hands often using soap and water. Wash them for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, if soap and water are not available
· Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
· Every day, clean the areas you touch a lot
To protect your family and others:
· Stay home if you’re sick except to get medical care
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze, throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands right away
· If you’re sick, wear a face mask when around people
You can find more information on preventing COVID-19 disease on the CDC’s website (Prevention for Coronavirus). (CDC, “Pregnancy,” 2020).
How should I manage and report the virus? Where do we get tested?
Only health care providers can order a COVID-19 test. Call your health care provider if you believe you have been near someone with COVID-19 or have signs such as fever, cough or trouble breathing. (UHC, 2020).
The process and locations for testing are different from place to place. Contact your state, local, tribal or territorial health department for more information, or reach out to a medical provider. State and local public health departments have received tests from the CDC while medical providers are getting tests developed by commercial manufacturers. While supplies of these tests are increasing, it may still be difficult to find someplace to get tested. (CDC, “FAQ,” 2020).
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and how do I know if I need to go to the doctor?
COVID-19 and upper respiratory infections (such as colds or flu) both have signs of fever and cough. With COVID-19, about 80 percent of all cases are minor. Many people don’t even know they are sick. But about 15 percent become very sick and need oxygen. Around 5% need to go to the hospital and use a machine called a ventilator. (WHO, 2020)
How is patient care such as doctor visits and procedures impacted?
On March 18, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that all non-essential medical, surgical and dental appointments be cancelled during the COVID-19 outbreak. This will keep our healthcare workers free to help those most in need. (CMS, 2020). Contact your doctor with any questions about how this may affect your appointments and birth plan.
How can I cope with the COVID-19 stress and anxiety?
Call Optum’s emotional support line any time at 866-342-6892. This 24/7 Optum Help Line is staffed by professionally trained mental health experts. It is free and open to anyone. (UHC, 2020).
Sanvello Health, Inc., a leading provider of digital and tele-mental health solutions to individuals, businesses and payers, announced free premium access to its digital care delivery platform. This offer is available globally and makes Sanvello’s clinically validated techniques, coping tools and peer support free to anyone impacted by COVID-19 for the duration of the crisis. To activate free premium access, anyone can download Sanvello for free from the App Store or Google Play and create an account to begin using the strategies, tools, and peer support. (UHG, “Sanvello,” 2020).
Do other health conditions increase my chances of catching the virus? How should I protect myself if I have a chronic condition?
People who have these conditions include:
· older people (age 65 and older)
· women who are pregnant
· people who have chronic health conditions such as:
· heart disease
· lung disease, including asthma
· a weak immune system (Examples include: cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune suppressive medications.)
· kidney or liver disease
· a neurological, endocrine or metabolic disorder
· a blood disorder (such as sickle cell anemia)
· extreme obesity
· people who smoke
· people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or a serious long-term health problem, it is important for you to reduce your chance of getting sick.
· Stock up on supplies so that you don’t have to go shopping as often.
· Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others of at least 6 feet.
· When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
· Avoid crowds as much as possible.
· Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your chance
What are the signs of COVID-19?
Signs have ranged from mild to severe. These signs may appear 2–14 days after coming into contact with the virus.
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
• Repeated shaking with chills
• Muscle pain
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell
Other signs include sore throat, nasal congestion, sputum production, coughing up blood, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, body aches and tiredness.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention right away. 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 ask your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning. (CDC, “Symptoms,” 2020).
Do I have a higher chance of getting sick because I’m pregnant?
We don’t know if pregnant women have a higher chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may raise their chances of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as the flu, women have had a higher chance of becoming very sick. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses. (CDC, “Pregnancy,” 2020).
Should pregnant women self-quarantine?
Follow your state and local guidelines, and the advice of your doctor.
How will I get prenatal care if the OB office closes?
Hospitals and doctors’ offices are still ready to care for pregnant women. Hospitals will continue to care for pregnant women and others in an emergency. (ACOG, 2020).
Upcoming vacation, should I go?
If you have travel plans, consult your doctor, and be sure to check out the CDC’s travel advisories, including the recently released CDC travel guidance for older Americans, people with underlying health concerns and all people planning cruise ship travel. (UHC, 2020).
If I get COVID-19, will it affect my baby?
We still don’t know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. At this time, no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the virus. In the small number of cases studied so far, the virus wasn’t found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk. (CDC, “Pregnancy,” 2020).
Should I be going to work?
Follow the advice of your doctor and local health officials. Stay home if you can. Talk to your employer about working from home. If you or someone in your family gets COVID-19, follow the directions of your doctor, the CDC and your local health department regarding self-isolation and other recommended steps you should take, (CDC, “FAQ,” 2020).
ACOG. (April 14, 2020). COVID-19 FAQs for Obstetrician-Gynecologists. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/clinical-information/physician-faqs/covid-19-faqs-for-ob-gyns-obstetrics.
CDC. (17 March 2020). Pregnancy & Breastfeeding: Information about Coronavirus Disease 2019. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html.
CDC. (20 March 2020). Symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.
CDC. (23 March 2020). Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings (Interim Guidance). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-hospitalized-patients.html.
CDC. (23 March 2020). FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.
CDC. (April 14, 2020). Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Information about Coronavirus Disease 2019. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/pregnant-women-faq.html.
(5 March 2020). The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Disrupt the U.S. Drug Supply. Retrieved from https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/coronavirus-disrupt-us-drug-supply-shortages-fda.
CMS. (18 March 2020). CMS Releases Recommendations on Adult Elective Surgeries, Non-Essential Medical, Surgical, and Dental Procedures During COVID-19 Response. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-releases-recommendations-adult-elective-surgeries-non-essential-medical-surgical-and-dental.
FDA FDA site: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions
UHC. (2020) COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.uhc.com/health-and-wellness/health-topics/covid-19.
UHG. (18 March 2020). UnitedHealthcare Expands Access to Care, Support and Resources to Help People and Families Address COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/newsroom/2020/2020-03-18-covid19-uhc-support.html.
UHG. (20 March 2020). Sanvello Offers Free Premium Access to Help People Cope With Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/newsroom/2020/2020-03-20-sanvello-premium-access-covid-19.html.
UHG. (25 March 2020). Dave’s Daily. Retrieved from https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/ns/resources.html?cid=IC:Hub:OA:3.18.20:standard:NAT:COVID19.
Washington Post. (26 February 2020). Coronavirus raises fears of U.S. drug supply disruptions. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/02/26/coronavirus-raises-fears-us-drug-supply-disruptions/
WHO. (2020). Q&A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-pregnancy-childbirth-and-breastfeeding