Let’s face it: pregnancy doesn’t get put on hold just because of a pandemic. And even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, taking care of yourself and your pregnancy is just as important now as in so-called “normal” times. We understand that you likely have additional concerns about getting prenatal care and even caring for your newborn during a pandemic, so we’ve put together some frequently asked questions that can help you in your pregnancy through these uncertain times.
Q: Should I still go to prenatal care appointments?
A: Yes! While some physicians limited appointments and access early in the pandemic, most have worked out processes for keeping you and your unborn baby safe now. You can expect your OB/GYN to have implemented a number of safeguards, including facemasks, extra sanitation of exam rooms, and social distancing. Skipping your regularly scheduled prenatal care visits can mean you miss identifying complications, risk factors, or problems with the development of your baby that, if caught early, can be better addressed. For this reason, it’s still important to keep up with your regular visits. If you have early pregnancy bleeding or go into early labor, contact your OB/GYN immediately.
Q: Is it still OK to deliver in a hospital?
A: Again, yes. Hospitals are isolating all coronavirus patients into separate wings or facilities in order to keep other patients safe. And as with your OB/GYN, you can expect your hospital to be taking extra precautions to ensure your and your baby’s safety. You will want to contact the hospital where you plan to deliver to learn of any unique restrictions they are implementing during this time, such as stricter limits on visitors and extra health screenings.
Q: What if I get sick with COVID-19 while I’m pregnant?
A: There is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is passed in utero to your fetus, so you can put that worry aside for now. But pregnant women do need to be extra cautious about any symptoms experienced while pregnant. If you start to have any symptoms of COVID-19, contact your OB/GYN and seek out testing as soon as possible. Rest assured that even if you have the illness, you should be able to receive the prenatal care and delivery experience you’ve planned unless your illness becomes severe – which is statistically unlikely, since the majority of COVID-19 cases are mild.
Q: If I have COVID-19 after my baby is born, can I still care for my newborn?
A: Yes, as long as you take extra precautions. Wear a face mask, sanitize surfaces frequently, and wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially before touching your baby. During times when you are frequently coughing, minimize close contact with your newborn and get the rest you need. When you feel up to it, you can still practice skin-to-skin contact with your baby and breastfeed, as there has been no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is passed to a baby through the new mother’s milk. If you experience severe COVID-19 complications while pregnant, please know that it is safe to come to Laredo ER, where we are taking every precaution for our patients. We can give you the emergency care you need and work with your OB/GYN to protect the health of your baby going forward.