Millions of pregnant women are worried and trying to understand what to do. They want to protect their babies and find out if they are at risk.
General Covid-19 information
The coronavirus is a new virus. The human race has never been exposed. We have no baseline immunity or protective antibodies. We do not have a vaccine, and there is no effective medication to treat it. We are all susceptible to becoming sick with Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Current information on Covid-19 in pregnancy
We do not know definitively if pregnant women are more susceptible to becoming sick with Covid-19. Based on current data, there is no evidence at this time indicating pregnant women are more at risk than the general public.
Pregnant women have a suppressed immune system and physiologic changes in their lung function. These changes put pregnant women at a higher risk for respiratory problems when they contract other similar viruses, such as influenza or pneumonia. For this reason, pregnant women are considered an at-risk group for respiratory compromise if they contract Covid-19. Influenza vaccination is critically important.
Can Covid-19 be passed to the baby?
At the current time, there is no indication that Covid-19 is passed to the baby through vertical transmission. There is no data indicating that Covid-19 is passed to the baby through the bloodstream or the placenta. This is very encouraging news for all pregnant women.
Can I breastfeed?
Studies thus far demonstrate that the coronavirus is not present in breast milk.
For patients without suspected Covid-19, breastfeeding should be encouraged. Breastfeeding helps build the immune system for newborns. We should encourage extra precautions when handling a newborn. Hand-washing is key. Breast pumps or bottles must be properly cleaned.
How do I protect myself?
We all must do our part to prevent the spread of the virus. Pregnant women should follow the same global recommendations.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Practice social distancing.
- Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze. Immediately discard the tissue.
- Clean your cellphone and household surfaces.
- Avoid travel.
Should I get a Covid-19 test?
No. Please do not overwhelm the health system. Every test takes up resources and valuable personal protective equipment. If you feel sick, you do not need a test. A negative test does not mean that you do not or will not have the virus. A positive test does not change management. Regardless of the test results, the recommendations will be two weeks of home isolation and supportive measures such as fluids, rest, and acetaminophen.
Thanks to By Dr. Jeff Livingstone for sharing valuable information