With everything going on in the last few weeks, you may be wondering how this can affect, either yourself as an expecting mother or someone close to you.
>In general, COVID-19 is a viral respiratory infection that the CDC describes as “thought to spread mainly from person to person; between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby”.
>At this time, the CDC does not know if pregnant women have a higher risk of becoming sick from COVID-19 more than the average person or if their symptoms may be more severe. Throughout pregnancy, women experience physiological changes that may increase their risk for some infections. Although there is not much research at this time related to COVID-19 and its risks with pregnancy, other viruses in the same group as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illness (such as the flu), women have had a higher risk of developing severe illnesses- so it is very important for women to protect themselves from illnesses. The CDC does not know if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.
PROTECTION FROM THE VIRUS
>Taking the same precautions as the general population including covering your cough (such as using your elbow, avoiding those who may be sick, cleaning your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
DURING PREGNANCY OR BIRTH
>It is unknown at this time where a pregnant mother who tested positive for COVID-19 can pass the virus to fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. There is only a small sample size at this time.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
>Throughout pregnancy, the immune system in someone who is pregnant has reduced response to any illness so you may be more likely to get sick.
- High fever during the first trimester could increase the risk of certain birth defects
>There are only limited reports available, but there have been adverse outcomes such as preterm birth that have been reported of babies whose mothers with COVID-19 but this is not clear if it is related to maternal infection.
>Limited data has shown that children born to women with COVID-19 did not test positive for the virus but we do not know if there can be transmission of the virus from herself to her child.
>There is not enough data at this time to know if the virus can spread from woman to baby by breastfeeding. The data thus far has not been found in amniotic fluid or breastmilk.
>Based on current data gathered, children do not appear to be at a higher risk of getting COVID-19; children with the virus have had mild symptoms- serious problems are rare.
THINGS YOU CAN DO
>Practice social distancing when you can- this means being separated from others by at least 6 feet. You may be able to ask your healthcare provider what they are doing with current patient hours to limit contact- whether that be providing virtual visits or spreading patients out throughout the day to limit interaction.
>Call the hospital or birth center to ask about current guidelines and/or restrictions that they have for the number of support persons (such as spouse/partner, family or doula) that are allowed in the room during labor and birth of child.
>If in labor, and you have/ think you may have COVID-19, call the hospital before you go so that the staff can properly prepare/ protect yourself/baby and others from further spread/infection.
>Take care of yourself! We are living through a public health emergency that is creating a large amount of stress, fear and anxiety in families across the US. For new moms, it can be especially a lot to handle. In order to take care of yourself, you can do several things:
- Take breaks from watching/ listening to information about the pandemic, and even going on social media to help reduce anxiety. Think about taking in news in bite size pieces, not as a buffet.
- Keep in touch with those who you love and love you as well. Let them know how you are feeling throughout all this.
- Trying to stay in a routine will be beneficial as the virus has changed everyone’s daily life. Make sure to eat healthy, at regular meal times, drink plenty of water and have a good night’s rest.
>Make sure to consistently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap/water, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, going to the bathroom; and before eating/preparing food. Try to refrain from touching your eyes, nose or mouth. You may also use alcohol-based sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol.
>Know that you are not alone!
If you are having pain or dysfunction during this time but you do not feel comfortable coming out for an appointment at our office, please do not hesitate to call our office and set up a phone consultation with one of our physical therapists to discuss how we can help. We are here for you.
Written by Beth Wehr DPT, PT at our Injury Center location.