With the swirl of research funneled toward coronavirus treatments and vaccines, there isn’t a lot of focus directed toward the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy. Sure, we’ve learned some useful details – like how long the virus survives on different surface materials – but the focus in this global pandemic is squarely on trying to fight the disease.
All of the information we have about COVID-19 is constantly subject to change – and what we do know about its impact on pregnancy is no different: It evolves day by day. But when I sat down with my OB/GYN Dr. Alison Buck on March 24, 2020, I wanted to gather as much information as I could.
Editor’s Note: As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds in Minnesota, certain details in our stories about the impact of the virus may become outdated within hours, days or weeks of our publication. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus in Minnesota, please visit the websites for the Office of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan or the Minnesota Department of Health.
These are the questions I asked my doctor.
How do I know if I have COVID-19?
The symptoms are the same for pregnant women as they are for the general population:
Shortness of Breath (this one is common during pregnancy – so if you experience increased shortness of breath, then you should seek care)
Are pregnant women and their babies at a high risk of developing the disease?
The current, available data suggests that:
Pregnant women are not at a higher risk of developing the disease.
Pregnant women are not at high risk of having a more severe disease.
There have been no confirmed cases of infants being infected in-utero.
What if I have COVID-19 when I deliver?
Having COVID-19 is not a reason to have a C-Section.
One study showed that the disease does not get worse through delivery.
The CDC does recommend that, if the mother tests positive for COVID-19, she and the baby are separated after delivery so that the baby is hopefully protected from the disease as the mother recovers.
Again, this information is evolving as new data emerges – so please check the following websites for more up to date info:
The World Health Organization (WHO) has a Q&A of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding available here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has a pregnancy/breastfeeding and COVID-19 page here
ACOG Practice Guidelines: The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a practice advisory here.
More from our “Pregnant in the Time of Coronavirus” series here.
Prompted by news stories from New York City and Los Angeles about support partners being banned from accompanying pregnant women at some hospitals, producer Kate McDonald wondered, “Will we have to give birth alone?” Since the publication of that story, however, the State of New York Governor’s Office issued an executive order that requires all hospitals to permit one support partner – just one example of how swiftly news surrounding the coronavirus changes.
As Minnesotans looks for ways to show their support for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we took a look back in time to celebrate the contributions that four women – all named Ruth – made to the state’s public health system.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving issue in Minnesota, Twin Cities PBS is producing a weekly show, Coronavirus: An Almanac Special, where we share practical information from trusted medical sources so all Minnesotans know how to prepare for the coronavirus.