June 9, 2020
YOUR PREGNANCY RELATED COVID-19 QUESTIONS, ANSWERED.
Welcoming a new baby is a joyous time. You look forward to decorating the nursery, shopping for baby items and meeting your little one. But with the coronavirus outbreak, many new and expecting families are now experiencing worry.
Here are answers to questions new and expecting families may have right now.
How can pregnant people protect themselves against COVID-19?
As of April 3, the Center for Disease Control says everyone should wear a face covering in public.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says pregnant women should also:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you can’t wash hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Stay at least six feet away from others if you need to go out.
- Avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus.
Our lead medical director, Dr. Anuradha Rao-Patel, adds that it’s important to stay in close contact with your doctor. While some visits have to be done in person, others can be done over the phone or on video chat. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) has expanded access to telehealth in response to the pandemic.
What are the risks to the pregnancy and baby?
We don’t yet have data specific to COVID-19. But Rao-Patel says it’s especially important for pregnant women to protect themselves. Pregnant women may be more susceptible to viral respiratory infections.
The CDC says pregnant women have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19. This is also true for other illnesses, like influenza.
Can the coronavirus be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy?
According to the CDC, the risk of passing the infection to an unborn child appears to be very low. Likewise, there is no evidence that COVID-19 in a pregnant woman causes other harm to a fetus.
However, after birth, a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread. That means a baby can be infected after being in close contact with an infected person, including a mother or caretaker.
Should I be concerned about breastfeeding if I have COVID-19?
According to the ACOG, the coronavirus has not been found in breast milk. But there is not enough information yet on whether women can pass the virus through breastfeeding.
If you have COVID-19 and choose to breastfeed, wear a mask during breastfeeding. Wash your hands well before and after each feeding.
If you have COVID-19 and choose to pump, use a dedicated breast pump. Again, wear a mask and wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts.
New moms might find it helpful to emotionally prepare for the likelihood that visitors will not be permitted in the hospital after delivery. Check with the hospital prior to delivery for their specific policies.
PREGNANCY RESOURCES FOR YOU
For more resources, check out our pregnancy resources page. You’ll find articles from moms, doctors and others on important topics for new and expecting mothers.
MORE INFORMATION FOR NEW AND EXPECTING MOTHERS
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) maternity benefits will vary depending on individual and group plans. Visit Blue Connect for details on your benefits.
Download the My Pregnancy App for information on important pregnancy milestones. Take a pregnancy risk survey or find resources to help you track your pregnancy. If you have questions, call our 24/7 OB nurse line.