What You Need to Know About COVID-19 and Pregnancy
As we walk through the uncertain territory of the recent days with the coronavirus, we want to pass along some helpful information and send some encouragement your way. You’re not alone if you’re nervous or have questions about what the next few weeks may look like, especially if you're pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive. We’re here to share with you what we know about the coronavirus - right now. We also want to encourage you to not give into fear. We will get through this! Do your best to focus on the good during this time and trust the bigger plan.
How widespread is COVID-19?
Presently, the situation is enough of a global emergency that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it to be a pandemic. The virus is also spreading in the United States. In weeks and months to come, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expect that COVID-19 will continue to spread widely throughout the country. People living in areas where COVID-19 is spreading throughout their community are at an elevated risk of being exposed.
What does this mean for pregnant women or mothers?
Right now, experts don’t know how susceptible pregnant women are to COVID-19. But, in general, pregnant women who develop viral respiratory infections tend to be at increased risk of developing complications or more severe symptoms. The risks of birth defects or pregnancy complications may be similar to other viruses — such as those when a mother has a high fever during the first trimester — but this is considered to be extremely unlikely.
If you're a pregnant mama, you’ll want to take the normal safety precautions. However, special precautions may apply for pregnant women in health care professions who may be caring for sick individuals.
Presently, there is very little evidence available regarding mother-to-fetus transmission, transmission during delivery, and breastfeeding. However, in the very few cases seen so far, it doesn’t seem that children born to mothers with COVID-19 pass the virus to their children in the womb and the virus has not been detected in the amniotic fluid or breast milk of mothers infected with COVID-19.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published guidelines for healthcare professionals caring for pregnant women with COVID-19 and their babies. These guidelines include how to prevent transmission and how to approach breastfeeding.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19, which may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, include:
- shortness of breath
Some people may have the virus but lack symptoms or feeling sick — though they could still pass the virus on to others. Most who get COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and get better, but some might become sicker and have trouble breathing. Older people or people with underlying medical problems (like individuals with diabetes, heart problems, or high blood pressure or those who are immuno-compromised) could be more likely to have more serious symptoms or complications. Very serious cases could lead to death.
You should get medical attention immediately if you experience:
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- steady pain or pressure in the chest
- bluish lips or face
- confusion or an inability to stir or wake
What should you do if you suspect you have COVID-19?
If you suspect that you have COVID-19, you should stay home and be in touch with your medical provider. If you’re experiencing the more serious symptoms listed above, you should seek medical attention immediately.
How can you prevent picking up and transmitting the virus?
Because of how the disease seems to spread, one of the best things you can do to slow the spread is to engage in good hygiene practices. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.
Take part in social distancing. This means keeping your distance from people when in public places — at least 6 feet away — avoiding crowds, and reconsidering any non-essential travel.
If you live in a community where the coronavirus is spreading, which includes many areas of the U.S., it’s further advised that you stay home as much as possible to prevent catching COVID-19 or spreading it throughout your community. This means working from home (if possible), not gathering together with family or friends, and performing essential errands like going to the grocery store or pharmacy only as needed. This may feel like an extreme step, but it’s a strong tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. To further encourage social distancing, on March 15, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that everyone cancel and postpone in-person events of 50 people or more.
It’s always a good idea to regularly clean and disinfect areas of your home or in your workplace that you touch throughout the day, such as doorknobs, handles, light switches, sinks, remotes, chairs, phones, keyboards, desks, tables, etc.We understand that some of this advice can be hard to follow. The thought of being home for weeks at a time when we are used to running kids to activities and staying busy is enough to cause a lot of anxiety. But we encourage you to take this time to be together. Enjoy the family time and the slower pace. We are hoping these extreme measures only last 2 weeks but it could be up to 2 months. We recommend taking on this new, temporary way of life one week at a time.
Do you need to be worried?
The situation is changing quickly, and it’s completely normal to feel worried about what this means for you and your family. It’s our hope that learning the facts of the situation and understanding the steps you can take to prevent illness and limit the spread of disease will help you feel more at ease. Below are some helpful links to keep you in the loop.
What you should know if you’re at higher risk of getting very sick (if you are older or have underlying medical conditions)
How to prepare your household for an outbreak in your community, including preparing for potential disruptions in childcare, school, or work
How to manage anxiety and stress during this time
Stay safe and well friends. Please contact one of our nutritional specialist if you have any questions. We are praying hard for all of you and all those effected by this virus.
Your Promise Prenatal Team
-“Steps to Prevent Illness.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 10 2020. Retrieved March 11 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.
-“Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization. Retrieved March 12 2020. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.
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