COVID-19 and Pregnancy

Very little is know about COVID-19 and its effect on pregnant women. Based on a small number of cases, it is believed pregnant women may be at higher risk of severe illness (compared to the general population). Again, this is based on a small number of cases.

How is it spread? Mainly from person-to-person (within six feet) through respiratory droplets. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets can land in the mouths or noses or nearby people or possibly inhaled. Preliminary studies found the virus can remain viable on surfaces from 3-24 hours, depending on the surface material. For example, the handles of a shopping cart...so you want to wash or disinfect your hands as soon as possible and do not touch your face.

Everybody should be following the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines for prevention and readiness. The single best thing you can do is wash your hands!

The best way to prevent the illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands (often!) for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Sing "Happy Birthday" while you wash to get the estimated 20 seconds.
  • If you can't wash, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. No, washing with vodka will not help, despite social media claims.
  • DO NOT touch your eyes, nose, or mouth! 
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Don't shake hands. It's not rude. Tap shoes/feet - not elbows (Was that the elbow you sneezed/coughed into?
  • Make sure you have at least three feet of space around you and another person - six feet is better.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touch surfaces every day.

If you go into labor and are sick with COVID-19, you should be aware of the current guidelines (as of this writing):

  • You will be placed in an isolation room.
  • Infants born to mothers with COVID-19 are considered PUI (persons under investigation).
  • Temporary separation of mother and baby is recommended until the mother is no longer considered contagious.
  • If you want to breastfeed, you'll need to pump.
  • Another (non-infected) person will need to feed the baby your breast milk.
  • It is not yet know if the virus passes through breast milk, however, in limited case reports there is no evidence of the virus in breast milk.

In summary, this is a rapidly evolving situation. Pay attention to what your healthcare provider recommends and practice good hand hygiene. Stay away from crowds and close contact with other people. Meanwhile, do what you can to live a healthy lifestyle so you can better fight this thing.

 

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