Pregnant women around the world are talking to their doctors about how the coronavirus outbreak could affect their pregnancies and deliveries. While research continues to assess COVID-19 and possible dangers for pregnant women and newborns, families around the world are forced to consider unexpected options for delivery.
At Birth Injury Guide, our birth injury lawyer has compiled information about the coronavirus outbreak and prevention strategies that pregnant women and their families may find useful.
Coronavirus Outbreak Causes Concerns about Hospital Births
Many women have concerns about delivering in hospitals where they may be in close contact with patients who have coronavirus. Furthermore, hospital staff who treat patients with coronavirus may spread the virus to other parts of the hospital.
There is another concern for many women – that they will have to deliver their newborn without the help of their partner or loved ones. As more quarantines are announced, many women are afraid that their partners, or whoever they want in the room with them during birth, will not be allowed at the hospital.
Because of all the uncertainty, many women are considering their options. According to a Business Insider report, some women are considering switching from a hospital birth to a birthing center. Others are considering their options for a home birth. Of course, some women are simply hoping for the best and are keeping their plans as they are until they find that they need to make a change.
Women’s health experts say that hospitals are constantly monitoring evolving guidelines for pregnancy, labor and delivery. Experts say that women should trust their healthcare providers and be extra diligent in their usual hygiene and hand washing practices. Experts also say that hospital births are the safest option for many women, especially those who are high-risk or who are having Cesarean sections (c-sections).
Is Coronavirus Dangerous for Pregnant Women?
Not only are women concerned about their pregnancy and delivery, but they are also concerned about how coronavirus could affect their health and their baby’s health. There is still a lot that is not known about COVID-19, which naturally is making pregnant women anxious.
Researchers do not know exactly how, if at all, coronavirus could affect a pregnant woman or unborn child. Still, experts urge pregnant women to be cautious. During pregnancy, the immune system is naturally weaker, which makes women more susceptible to viruses. There are many types of virus that are known to cause complications during pregnancy, so the risk of coronavirus cannot be ruled out just yet.
Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that other types of coronavirus, such as SARS and MERS, have caused complications in pregnant women. SARS and MERS both increase the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. Researchers do not know if COVID-19 carries the same risks.
Dr. Christopher Zahn, the vice president of practice activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says,
“It’s understandable that pregnant women would be concerned about exposure to the virus and any negative effect it could have on their health and the health of their fetus. However, it is critical to note that at this time, for the general public in the United States, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.”
What Should Pregnant Women Do to Reduce the Risks of Coronavirus?
The CDC is urging many Americans to plan ahead for the event that their home or community develops coronavirus. Many women are finding that it only makes sense to do the same in case their community is affected. Women report that they are preparing by stocking up on essentials, such as cleaning supplies and hand sanitizing wipes. Some women also report having groceries delivered to their home in surplus so they can avoid crowds and lines as they near their due dates.
Coronavirus Prevention Strategies
- The best way to avoid getting coronavirus is to avoid exposure. Coronavirus spreads primarily through direct contact with someone who has the infection. It also spreads through respiratory fluids released during a cough or sneeze. The CDC recommends staying at least six feet away from people who may be infected.
- If you are pregnant and work in healthcare, strictly adhere to infection control and risk assessment guidelines for coronavirus. Some healthcare facilities may limit exposure of pregnant staff to patients with coronavirus.
- Practice good hand hygiene throughout the day. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after visiting a public place, preparing food, coughing or sneezing.
- If you do not have access to soap and water, plan ahead by packing hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Make sure to coat all surfaces of your hands and rub the sanitizer in until your hands are dry.
- If you cannot wash your hands – especially in a public place – do not touch your eyes, mouth or nose until you can.
- If someone you know is sick, avoid close contact with them. Some people who have coronavirus show few symptoms. Furthermore, those symptoms may resemble symptoms of a cold or flu.
- Wear a face mask if you are caring for someone who is sick.
- If you are sick with any type of illness, stay home. When you are sick your immune system weakens, making you more vulnerable to other viruses.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that your family touches frequently. These include door knobs, light switches, phones, keyboards, faucets and toilets. The CDC recommends using an EPA-registered disinfectant.
Stay Informed About the Coronavirus Outbreak
One of the best ways that you can plan ahead and take measures to prevent exposure to coronavirus is to stay informed about the outbreak. The CDC website updates daily with the latest information about the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and worldwide. Most major news outlets also provide regular updates about the outbreak and how it is affecting Americans.
At Birth Injury Guide, we also hope to provide helpful and updated information about the coronavirus outbreak. In particular, we will be monitoring how coronavirus may impact pregnancy, labor and delivery. As always, if you have questions about your health and your legal rights, you can call us at 1-877-415-6603, or email us via our online form.