Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about COVID-19 and pregnancy. Please keep in mind that information is changing daily so you should always consult your own doctor or midwife for the most up-to-date info and recommendations specific to your area.
Many thanks to Dr. Daniele DiMascio from U Rome, Italy for her assistance with these FAQ
(1) I am pregnant. Am I more likely to get COVID-19, and if I get it, will I be sicker than those who are not pregnant? Physiologic maternal adaptations to pregnancy predispose pregnant women to a more severe course of pneumonia, but pregnant women do not appear to be at increased risk for severe disease related to COVID-19 based on a limited number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in pregnancy.
(2) How can I reduce the risk of getting COVID-19? the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed: - wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you've been in a public place, after blowing your nose / coughing / sneezing - avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face with unwashed hands - avoid close contact with people who are sick - put distance between yourself and other people; this is especially important if COVID19 is spreading in your community. This 'social distancing' involves keeping at least 6 feet away from others. - stay home if you are sick - limit going out of your home except for essentials such as groceries, pharmacy, etc. as much as possible. Work from home / remotely if able. - Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
(3) Should I cancel my antenatal appointments / appointments for my obstetric ultrasounds? - you should work with your provider to complete some appointments by Telehealth (video or phone) whenever possible
(4) Can I still go to work? Social distancing is VERY IMPORTANT to avoid the spread of COVID-19. if you are able to work from home, please do. If you cannot, please put distance between yourself and others, and remember to practice good hygiene including disinfecting surfaces regularly and cleaning / sanitizing your hands regularly.
(5) Should I travel? You should limit travel as much as possible. CDC is continually updating travel recommendations - please refer to their website for the most up-to-date information. As of March 19, 2020, the US Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory = "Do Not Travel" and advises all US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
(6) Which symptoms should I be aware of? symptoms of COVID19 typically include: - fever ≥ 38 degrees Celsius / 100.4 degrees Farenheit - fatigue - cough - shortness of breath (dyspnea) - gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea not all individuals with COVID-19 develop all symptoms
(7) I have one of these symptoms. Should I go to the hospital? If you have one of these symptoms, it is best for you to call your doctor or midwife to determine the best next step. Many hospitals and clinics have developed specific protocols and plans for testing for COVID-19, and the location where you get testing may depend on the specific symptoms you have, how far along in pregnancy you are, and if you are having any pregnancy-related problems.
(8) How is COVID-19 confirmed? The test involves swabs taken from your mouth and nose. if you have respiratory symptoms, you might have a x-ray or CT scan (computed tomography) to evaluate your lungs for pneumonia.
(9) What if I test positive for COVID-19? - if your symptoms are mild, you will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days, and you will most likely be followed by tele-health during this time - if your symptoms are moderate to severe, you will be admitted to the hospital for inpatient management
(10) What are the most common obstetrical problems related to COVID-19? Evidence is accumulating rapidly, so these data may need to be updated soon. With the limited data reported to date, mothers infected with COVID-19 may have a higher risk of preterm birth, preeclampsia, and delivery by cesarean section.
(11) Will COVID-19 affect my baby if I have COVID-19? Based on the latest reports, your baby might have a higher risk of admission to the NICU and of perinatal death compared to the general population. however, data are limited, and it is unknown whether these risks are related to preterm birth or COVID-19.
(12) Will my baby be affected by COVID-19 after birth? Currently there have been no published cases of clinical evidence of vertical transmission, defined as the presence of clinical signs of mother - to - child transmission during pregnancy or during labor.
(13) Will I be able to breastfeed my baby? Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. if you are confirmed COVID-19 or symptomatic under investigation, you should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to your infant. this includes washing your hands before touching your baby and wearing a mask while breast feeding. if you are expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, you should wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use.
For more answers, see New York Times article, "Pregnant and Worried About Coronavirus? Experts Weigh In"