Pregnancy is a special time full of excitement and anticipation. But for expectant mothers facing the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), fear, anxiety and uncertainty can cloud this otherwise positive experience. It’s understandable that expecting mothers might have more questions and concerns and may not be clear what COVID-19 means for you and your prenatal care. Below are some guidelines to help you find your way.
You should be in contact with your healthcare provider shortly after you find you are expecting.
If you do not have a provider, it’s important to establish a relationship with one soon. Most maternity centers allow virtual tours that provide insight into amenities provided and guidelines and restrictions during your delivery. After you choose your healthcare provider, set up your prenatal visits in advance.
Prenatal visits are important to ensure maternal and fetal health. Due to the fear of COVID-19, many expectant mothers are fearful of going to their appointment while taking precautions, such as staying home and practicing social distancing. This may cause anxiety in some patients, so it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to see what options are available to you.
Telehealth visits may be an option for prenatal visits, depending on respective conditions such as low-vs. higher-risk pregnancies. Telehealth visits are virtual visits that allow you to interact with your provider by video. Many obstetricians are now shifting from virtual prenatal visits to all in-person visits. You should feel comfortable attending in-person visits with your provider as precautions have been put into place to ensure the safety of you and your baby, including advanced cleaning measures, wearing masks and social distancing. Check with your provider to find out what in-person and remote services they offer.
During your pregnancy you can reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19 by following these precautions:
• Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and seek care from your health care provider if you experience any symptoms.
• Avoid contact with anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
• Work from home, where possible.
• Avoid large gatherings and always wear a mask in public.
• Frequently wash hands with soap and water and clean and disinfect touched surfaces regularly.
• Be sure to regularly check for CDC guideline updates at CDC.gov or ask your healthcare provider for the latest recommendations.
After your child is born, it is also important to continue receiving professional support and guidance, including routine immunizations. Speak to your healthcare provider about the safest way to have these appointments for you and your baby. Once your baby is here you should minimize the contact you have with others, especially in the early months. The fewer people that your baby interacts with the less likely he/she will get infected.