The COVID-19 outbreak is changing the way women experience pregnancy, turning what should have been a gratifying journey into a source of anxiety, stress and uncertainty. Expectant mothers can’t help but worry about the novel coronavirus, and its effects on their health, and the health of their unborn children.
With that in mind, here are few tidbits and words of reassurance, backed by research. We hope this provides you some comfort as you begin your journey to motherhood in this difficult period of time.
Your unborn baby is relatively safe from the pandemic.
A recent study1 from Wuhan examined nine pregnant women who were infected with COVID-19. Researchers tested their amniotic fluid, breastmilk and cord blood, and also swabbed their newborns’ throats. All these samples tested negative for the virus. Succeeding studies yielded the same results.
To date, only a few pregnant women with COVID-19 have given birth. Reports from the CDC show that no babies born to women with the disease have tested positive for the virus.2 While there have been cases of women with COVID-19 delivering prematurely, scientists cannot be certain that these early births were due to the virus.
There is no hard evidence that pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than those who aren’t expecting. Based on available information, expectant mothers seem to be on equal footing with regular adults when it comes to contracting the virus.
Social distancing will keep you safe.
Pregnant women have changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. They also have a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza.3
With this in mind, preventive measures should still be taken: Avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus; clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces everyday.
Adhering to social distancing matters now more than ever!
Your doctor is looking out for you.
Don’t hesitate to call your obstetrician! With social distancing in effect, many doctors are turning to telemedicine, the practice of remotely caring for patients through video-conferencing tools, to better protect their patients. The circumstances now are as dire as they are unprecedented, and your doctor knows that.
Feel free to consult them regarding the virus, your condition, your diet, and possible contingency plans (depending on the severity of the outbreak in your area). Frequent updates and discussions with your doctor will help quell fears, and in turn, help you better navigate your first trimester.
And your loved ones are there for you, too!
While social distancing remains an effective countermeasure against the spread of the virus, there is still one major health concern that it cannot address: stress.
The outbreak has forced expectant mothers into very unfamiliar territory. For those who are used to a healthy amount of support from family and friends, isolation and distancing may prove to be more taxing.
Expectant mothers are advised to take care of their mental health4 by staying, calling or video chatting with loved ones regularly, while abiding social distancing rules. They will be more than happy to keep you company!
Family and friends are also encouraged to help those who are expecting by dropping off food or groceries while maintaining social distance.
For more information about COVID-19, visit www.covid-19facts.com.
1. COVID-19 Facts. 17 March 2020. Will mothers pass on the coronavirus to their newborn babies?
2. Medical News Today. 3 April 2020. What to know about COVID-19 and pregnancy?
3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 15 April 2020. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding.
4. Global News. 26 March 2020. Pandemic pregnancies prove stressful as COVID-19 questions remain unanswered