COVID-19 and Pregnancy

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By Abria Cooper

Persons with various pre-existing conditions are at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19, one of those conditions includes pregnancy. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that pregnant people might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, there may be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, among pregnant people with COVID-19.

Data collected by the CDC late in June showed that among 91,412 women of reproductive age with coronavirus infections, the 8207 who were pregnant were 50 percent more likely to end up in intensive care units (ICUs) than their non-pregnant peers. Pregnant women were also 70 percent more likely to need ventilators, although they were no more likely to die.

Although valid, persons should be mindful that the CDC’s data only offer a partial view because pregnancy status was only available for 28 percent of the 326,000 U.S. women of reproductive age whose coronavirus infections had been reported to CDC by early June.

The CDC advises expectant mothers on how they should ensure the health of their unborn child as well as themselves.  First they should not skip their prenatal care appointments.  Limit your interactions with other people as much as possible.  Take precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 when you do interact with others.

They should also make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your medicines and talk to healthcare provider about how to stay healthy and take care of yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If they do not have a healthcare provider, contact your nearest community health center-external icon or health department.  Call your healthcare provider if you have any questions related to your health.

Seek care immediately if you have a medical emergency.

Although there is no vaccine available to protect persons against the virus that causes COVID-19, routine vaccines are an important part of protecting their health. Receiving some vaccines during pregnancy, such as the influenza (flu) and Tdap vaccines, can help protect an expectant mother and her baby. If a woman is pregnant, she should continue to receive her recommended vaccines. Pregnant women should also talk with their healthcare provider about visits for vaccines during pregnancy.

It is especially important for pregnant women to take care of themselves and their babies during pregnancy and after delivery.

They should not skip prenatal care appointments or postpartum appointments. If they are concerned about attending their appointments due to COVID-19, it is recommended that they talk to their healthcare provider.

One significant question to ask their healthcare provider would be how they are taking steps to separate healthy patients from those who may be sick.

Research shows that some healthcare providers might choose to cancel or postpone some visits. Others may switch certain appointments to telemedicine visits, which are appointments over the phone or video. These decisions will be based on the circumstances in your community as well as your individual care plan.

In case of emergency, call 911 or go to a local emergency department. If expectant mothers are not driving, call the emergency department on the way to explain that they are pregnant and have an emergency. They should have an infection prevention plan to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need emergency care. Do not delay getting emergency care because of COVID-19.

It is important for pregnant women to know delivery locations during the COVID-19 pandemic because delivering a baby is always safest under the supervision of trained healthcare professionals. If persons have questions about the best place to deliver your baby, discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Much is still unknown about the risks of COVID-19 to newborns.

Newborns can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after being in close contact with an infected person.

Some babies have tested positive for the virus shortly after birth. It is unknown if these babies got the virus before, during, or after birth.

Most newborns who have tested positive for COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and have recovered fully. However, there are a few reports of newborns with severe illness.

A small number of other problems, such as preterm or early birth and other problems with pregnancy and birth, have been reported in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19. However, it has not been proven whether or not these problems were related to the virus.

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