Pregnancy and COVID-19

Pregnant women may be at higher risk for more serious illness from COVID-19, the coronavirus disease spreading here and across the world. Women are more vulnerable to illness or infection, in general, during pregnancy. So with COVID-19, it’s important to take precautions.

Watch for symptoms: Fever, cough and shortness of breath.

  • If you have these symptoms, call your obstetrician or midwife.
  • Prenatal appointments may be modified but are still needed. These are important to your and your baby’s well-being. Your OB provider (physician, midwife or nurse practitioner) will take steps during appointments to keep you and other patients safe, and will also provide telehealth appointments (phone or video) when appropriate. UH providers are carefully balancing in-person prenatal visits while keeping both you and our staff safe, using guidance from the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine.
  • If you’re sick, call first, before heading to a doctor’s office or hospital. Most people with COVID-19 safely recover at home. Hospital care is needed only for severe symptoms and emergencies.

Childbirth and Your Baby

University Hospitals has special procedures in place to care for sick pregnant women and their newborns during and after childbirth at all of our hospital birthing locations, and will continue to support your hospital birth plan.

Not much is known yet about how COVID-19 affects a woman’s fetus or her newborn. But in small case studies so far:

  • Babies born to mothers with COVID-19 have not tested positive for the virus at birth.
  • The virus has not been detected in a sick mother’s breastmilk.

Childbirth and COVID-19: What to Do & Expect If You Are Sick and in Labor

If you have or suspect you have COVID-19, are in labor and on your way to the hospital, call and alert the hospital before you arrive (or have someone else call) so that we can prepare for you.

We will follow special procedures to keep you and your newborn protected during and after childbirth including:

  • Considering whether to place your baby in a separate room for care and evaluation until you’re well (we’ll talk with you about this first).
  • Helping a healthy family member or caregiver to safely care for and feed your newborn (including requiring protective gear such as gown, gloves and face mask).
  • Providing safeguards if you and your baby stay in the same hospital room, including possibly installing a screen or curtain between the two of you and keeping you both at least 6 feet apart.
  • Helping you safely express (or pump) your breastmilk for a healthy family member or caregiver to feed to your baby.
  • Helping you safely feed your infant yourself if a healthy adult is not available (including cleaning your hands and wearing a face mask when you have contact with your newborn)
  • Teaching you how to continue safely feeding and caring for your newborn once you are discharged from the hospital.

Talk to your obstetrician or midwife about any concerns you have. At University Hospitals, we care for you and your baby throughout your entire pregnancy and childbirth journey. We are here for you every step of the way and will provide the resources you need to help address your concerns. We are doing everything we can to keep mom and baby safe during delivery and throughout your hospital stay.

More information regarding pregnancy and coronavirus from the CDC

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