You didn’t expect a drive-by baby shower, a no-visitors policy at your sonogram appointments, and few people around to watch your bump grow thanks to social distancing. But due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this is the reality that pregnant people across the globe face right now. Expecting a child is a joyous feeling—but if you’re full of questions about how to keep your newborn and yourself safe during this time, we’ve got answers.
Are You at Greater Risk of Contracting Coronavirus if You’re Pregnant?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant people don’t appear to be at higher risk of contracting coronavirus than non-pregnant people. Since the coronavirus is still so new, however, a lot is still unknown, so it’s best to be as cautious as possible. Pregnant people do have a higher risk of developing serious complications from respiratory viruses similar to coronavirus, such as influenza. That’s why it’s essential to do all that you can to protect yourself and your newborn from contracting coronavirus while its effects on pregnant people are still being studied.
How Does Coronavirus Affect Pregnant People and Newborns?
Coronavirus and pregnancy are still being studied, but as of right now, it doesn’t appear to affect pregnant people any differently than it affects non-pregnant people, according to the CDC. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that newborns can become infected with the virus. It’s still unknown if some babies testing positive for the virus contracted it prenatally or after birth, however. After birth, many mothers testing positive for coronavirus are considering temporary separation to keep their newborn healthy. This, of course, isn’t ideal for a new mother and her child, but may be necessary. Your healthcare provider will discuss the benefits and risks of a temporary situation after birth, should the need arise.
Fortunately, most newborns with coronavirus have had mild symptoms and made a full recovery. There have been a few cases, however, of newborns with severe complications from the virus, and there have also been reports of preterm birth and other pregnancy complications in mothers with coronavirus. A correlation between these situations and the virus hasn’t been established, however. It just goes to show how little is truly known about the impact of coronavirus on pregnancy at this point—making safety precautions especially important to consider.
How to Keep Yourself Safe
A coronavirus vaccine isn’t expected to become available until next year, so until then, it’s essential to take all the necessary safety precautions outlined by the CDC, including:
- Staying home as much as possible, and practicing social distancing when you do leave the house
- Washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds (and keeping hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol handy for when soap and water aren’t available)
- Avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces often
Most importantly, don’t delay or miss your prenatal care appointments due to coronavirus. Instead, talk to your OB-GYN about what steps they’ve taken to keep patients safe at their medical practice.
Coping With Stress and/or Depression While Pregnant During the Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic is stressful for everyone, but pregnant people are positioned for a unique stress over lack of definitive information and fear over their newborn’s health. Fortunately, there are things you can do to cope with stress, such as:
- Pausing the news and social media to give yourself a mental break
- Calling friends and family to chat when you feel down or upset
- Exercising and eating healthy to keep yourself feeling as best as possible
Another important consideration: taking care of your mental health. Even without a pandemic to contend with, depression during and after pregnancy is very common—in fact, one in eight new mothers experience postpartum depression. Fortunately, it can be treated! If you’re experiencing depression while pregnant, reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as possible. In life-threatening situations, call the
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is also a great place to turn to for mental health resources!
Experiencing Symptoms? Get Medical Care from Home
Around 80 percent of all coronavirus patients experience only mild symptoms and can make a full recovery at home. Fortunately for you, that means if you’re experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, you don’t necessarily have to head to the ER (unless your symptoms are severe—then, call 911!). Instead, let DispatchHealth come to you. We can test for and treat coronavirus in the comfort of your own home. We’ve taken extra precautions to ensure our patients’ and medical providers’ safety, so you can trust you’re in good hands with us. If you think you may have coronavirus, contact us today via a phone call, our website, or our app to request care, and we’ll be at your doorstep within a few hours to deliver ER-level care without you having to step foot in one.
Sources DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
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