When it comes to COVID-19 and pregnancy, there are some unknowns since the disease is so new and researchers haven’t had time to study it extensively. However, experts at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital say the best things expectant mothers can do are to keep up with their providers’ recommended prenatal healthcare, practice good health habits and keep up to date on and follow CDC recommendations.
“Pregnant women should keep up with their scheduled prenatal appointments, unless otherwise advised by their healthcare provider. While we are working every day to limit non-essential visits, unless you are notified by your obstetrician or midwife of changes in your scheduled visits, please do keep them ,” said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor and Texas Children’s and an expert in maternal-fetal health. “If you are pregnant and are experiencing any symptoms worrisome for COVID-19 disease or have been in contact with anyone known to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, then it is important to contact your doctor or midwife before coming into the clinic or hospital. Your healthcare providers will be able to guide you on next steps.”
Prevention and Precaution
Prevention is key for pregnant women. This includes practicing all of the same guidelines as the rest of the population, and includes:
- Frequent and thorough handwashing (20 seconds, back, front, sides and in-between the fingers) and sanitizing of surfaces
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid touching frequently touched surfaces when out in public
- Avoid people who are sick
- Practice social distancing by avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people and keeping at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others
- Avoid traveling
- Ensure necessary medications, household items and groceries are on hand, particularly if there is an outbreak of the disease in their community
Follow the guidelines and recommendations from experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the local and state health departments and healthcare providers. There is the potential for misinformation to be spread via social media, Aagaard noted, so stick to and trust what the experts are saying.
Pregnant women who have severe chronic medical illnesses such as heart, lung or kidney disease, women with diabetes, or women with immune system disorders or on immunosuppressive medicines should take extra precautions and stay at home as much as possible. Contact with their high-risk pregnancy specialist continues to be recommended, and working with their provider by phone to determine the frequency of those visits is important. Read the CDC recommendations for those at high risk.
For more information on pregnancy and COVID-19, visit FAQ: pregnancy and COVID-19.