Amidst the global crisis we’re having due to COVID-19, this is truthfully a scary time for many women who are pregnant or going into labor. There is a lot of information as well as miss-information out there about being pregnant and delivering during the pandemic, so we’re here to bring you the facts.
We’ve scoured some of the most reputable sources on the internet to find out what you need to know, and this is what we’ve found.
How can pregnant women stay safe?
To keep yourself healthy during pregnancy, the CDC recommends following the same precautions that anyone else would. This includes basic things like coughing or sneezing into your elbow, avoiding people who are sick, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
All non-essential travel should be completely avoided. It’s also recommended that you avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands as this could transmit the virus. Make sure you clean and sanitize surfaces that you touch frequently like cell phones, computer keys, door knobs, and etc.
I might add that taking some immune boosting Vitamin C and probiotics wouldn’t hurt either, but make sure to consult with your doctor before making changes to your diet.
Can COVID-19 be transmitted during birth?
Because of limited research it’s unknown if the virus could be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery.
The CDC does state that it’s unlikely for pregnant women with coronavirus to transmit it to the fetus, however the newborn becomes susceptible to person to person spread after birth.
There have been a small number of reported problems like pre-term birth with babies born to moms infected with coronavirus, but It’s still unconfirmed whether or not it was COVID-19 related.
Is breastfeeding safe for mothers who test positive for COVID-19?
There have been limited studies done regarding COVID-19 transmission during breastfeeding. So far the virus has not been detected in breastmilk, but it’s unknown if the virus can spread by breastfeeding.
One source states that hospitals are recommending moms with COVID-19 to separate from their babies after birth, and encouraging pumping or hand expressing breastmilk into a bottle rather than direct breastfeeding.
The CDC says if you are sick and choose to direct breastfeed, you should wear a facemask and wash your hands before each feeding.
If you are infected and choose to pump milk, you should follow these steps:
- Express breast milk to establish and maintain your milk supply
- Use a dedicated breast pump
- Wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts as well as before expressing any breast milk
- Make sure you follow recommendations for cleaning your breast pump properly after each use. Any parts that come into contact with breast milk should be cleaned after every use. You can find more information about cleaning your breast pump on CDC’s official website here.
- If possible, have someone who is in good health feed the breast milk to your baby using a bottle.
How will COVID-19 impact my labor?
The impact of COVID-19 on your delivery day will depend on the progressing state of the pandemic, and the laws governing your particular state. Some women have reported being told they may go into labor without a support person and considered changing to a hospital with a more permissive policy.
Hospitals in New York State were among some of those beginning to implement such policies until Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo gave an executive order requiring them to allow one person who does not have a fever at the time of labor and delivery to be present as a support person.
To find out about the policies in place in your state, contact your hospital of choice and ask what you need to know concerning your labor and the impact of COVID-19.
What should I do if I experience symptoms?
If you think you might have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 and/or develop symptoms such as a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, make sure to call your healthcare provider right away. Other symptoms may include persistent pain or pressure in the chest, and blush lips or face,
In spite of the pandemic, and anxious craze caused by news headlines, remember that this is still a beautiful time in your life because of the precious gift you’re carrying inside you. Do your best focus on that, and savour every moment of it!
To stay up to date with the latest news regarding COVID-19, you can check out these additional resources: