Full of physical and emotional changes for the expectant mother to adjust to, pregnancy is a challenging enough time. Being pregnant during a worldwide pandemic, however, can be downright frightening. Information changes every day, so it’s hard to know what to do for your health and for the health of your child. COVID-19 has also changed the way most of us live. Countries, states, and cities all over the world are in lockdowns in which all nonessential businesses are closed. Governments are suggesting, if not outright ordering, people to stay in their homes and away from others. Times are tough right now, to say the least. The Centers for Disease Control has issued some guidelines and tips for pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we’ll explain here.
What Are the Risks for Pregnant Women?
With or without the current pandemic, pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. Pregnant women have a higher risk of catching viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, such as the flu. At present, however, the CDC does not know if pregnant women are at a greater risk of contracting coronavirus than the general public. They also don’t know if pregnant women are more likely to have severe sickness if they become infected. It’s always a good idea to protect yourself from any illnesses no matter what.
There’s also no evidence that mothers can pass COVID-19 to their fetuses. No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the virus themselves. The virus has also not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.
How Can Pregnant Women Protect Themselves?
They should use the same best practices as the general public by practicing social distancing and staying away from large gatherings. They should cover their coughs using the “vampire technique,” avoid people that have any kind of sickness, and clean their hands constantly using soap, water and/or hand sanitizer. You can find additional information on prevention from the CDC here.
Should They Still See Their Doctors?
They should honor any doctor’s appointments, physicals, ultrasounds, or appointments. Ultrasounds are especially important because they detect fetal heartbeats, help diagnose potential birth defects, and generally determine the baby is healthy. Doctors and medical services are essential services, so they’ll be available during this time.