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Pregnancy and Coronavirus: COVID-19

by John Gomez | Last Updated: March 25, 2020

Are pregnant women more likely to get COVID-19?

In general pregnant women are more immunocompromised, but the early [limited] data on COVID-19 does not indicate that pregnant women are any more or less likely to become infected by the virus. Following the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) discussed below are the best practices to keep healthy during this uncertain time.

Can I transfer the COVID-19 s to my baby in utero?

The Lancet Infectious Disease published a study in 2019 showing the birth results for seven mothers in Wuhan, China who all tested positive with COVID-19 at the time of childbirth. All children were born without the virus, and one child tested positive 36 hours after birth due to having close contact with the mother. The study states that the likelihood of “vertical transmission” meaning transmission from mother to child in utero, is very unlikely. Verticle transmission is defined as  the passage of a disease-causing agent (pathogen) from mother to baby during the period immediately before and after birth, this can happen across the placenta, via ingesting breastmilk, or with direct contact between mother and child.

We are learning more each day about the reach of this virus, it is always good to ask your doctor about the latest information on transmission and spread of the virus in order to best protect yourself and your baby.

How does COVID 19 effect my risk of miscarriage or birth defects?

At this point there is no conclusive data that shows that miscarriage or birth defects are more likely if the mother was infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy.

Can COVID- 19 be passed to the baby via breastmilk?

The current research does not indicate that COVID 19 can be passed via breastmilk. COVID-19 is spread via respiratory droplets. These droplets enter the air when and infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land on another person, or on a surface that is then touched by another person. Understanding the close nature of nursing a child, one safeguard breastfeeding mothers could take is to use a mask while nursing and frequently wash their hands.

Wash your hands… the right way:

Washing your hands frequently, whether pregnant or not, is an important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19. This is a simple precaution that should be top of mind for anyone carrying a child. In addition to frequent hand washing keep a hand sanitizer with at least a 60% alcohol base with you at all times.

Rady’s Children Hospital located in San Diego, CA suggests following the handwashing technique below:

  • Use warm water (not cold or hot).
  • Use whatever soap you like. Antibacterial soaps are popular but regular soap works fine.
  • Rub your hands together well and scrub all surfaces: Lather up on both sides of your hands, your wrists, between your fingers, and around your nails. Wash for 20 seconds.
  • Rinse well under warm running water and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • In public restrooms, consider using a paper towel to flush the toilet and open the door because toilet and door handles harbor germs. Throw the towel away after you leave.

Give yourself the gift of proper nutrition:

We all know that following a healthy diet during pregnancy is important. Food is fuel and giving yourself and your baby proper nutrition is a great step towards staying healthy throughout your pregnancy. Your doctor can discuss the diet that will best serve you during this special time.

Social Distancing during pregnancy:

Pregnancy is a happy time that is frequently celebrated by social gathering such as baby showers, gender reveal parties and, for some to-be parents even going on a “Babymoon” trip.

During this uncertain time, you may want to consider delaying travel and large group gatherings. Consider instead hosting a virtual party, or postponing your celebrations until a safer time is present. Get creative! There are a lot of great ideas of how to celebrate while practicing social distancing. Plus, think of all the time you’ve been given to be home and nest! Limiting contact with others is the best practice for all of us for the time being.

How can I practice Social Distancing when I have so many doctor visits?

Often pregnant women have frequent doctor visits to monitor the health of themselves and their baby. Every pregnancy is different and doctor visits may be both unavoidable and necessary. Communicate with your doctor on the best practices for coming to the doctor’s office or hospital for appointments.

With all research being relatively young on this virus this information is what we know to date. Always stay updated with the most recent updates and science on this virus by contacting your doctor and referencing information provided by the CDC.

What to do if your feel your pregnancy was unnecessarily compromised by COVID-19:

If you are pregnant and believe you were exposed to COVID-19 at the workplace, at a hospital, doctor’s office, or any other situation where you feel the exposure could have been avoided but for the negligence of others, you may have legal remedies. Lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys are prepared to evaluate your situation and offer free legal consultations. In response to this unprecedented pandemic we have created options to offer such consultations virtually, keeping both you and your baby safe while exploring your legal options.

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