Pregnant women may be at higher risk for more serious illness from COVID-19, the coronavirus disease spreading here and across the world.
Women are more vulnerable to illness or infection, in general, during pregnancy. But research has found that pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized and require mechanical ventilation then pregnant women who don't have the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also warns that pregnant women with the virus could be at higher risk for other problems, such as preterm labor. So with COVID-19, its important to take precautions.
One important, protective step is to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC and other health organizations now recommend the vaccine for all pregnant or breastfeeding people, as well as those planning to get pregnant.
How to Protect Yourself (and Others)
Limit close contact with people not in your immediate household. Wear a snug-fitting face mask when in public or with people who don't live in your home.
When with people not from your immediate household:
- Avoid anyone not wearing a mask. Ask them to wear a mask, if possible.
- Maintain social distance (staying 6 feet away from others).
- Avoid activities where mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing cant be maintained.
Cough or sneeze into a tissue (that you then throw away) or into your elbow.
Wash hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially before touching your mouth, nose or eyes; before and after eating or meal prep; and after using the bathroom, coughing or sneezing, changing a diaper, or caring for someone who is sick. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.
Watch for symptoms: Fever, cough and shortness of breath. f you have these symptoms, call your obstetrician or midwife.
Don't skip prenatal appointments. These are important to your and your baby's well-being. Your obstetrician or midwife will take steps during appointments to keep you and other patients safe. Ask your prenatal care provider about these.
If you're sick, call first before heading to a doctor's office or hospital. If you do have COVID-19, note that most people safely recover at home. Hospital care is needed only for severe symptoms and emergencies. More on what to do if you have the virus.
Do not delay getting emergency medical care (due to worries about potential exposure to COVID-19).Call 911 or go directly to the emergency room. Call the ER on the way to let them know you are pregnant. Hospitals have plans in place to protect people at higher risk from COVID-19.
Get vaccinated for the flu and for whooping cough (the TDaP vaccine) during pregnancy. Both illnesses have similar symptoms to COVID-19, which could make it difficult to tell which illness you have. Getting vaccinated can help protect you from flu and whooping cough, and from the possibility of having either one at the same time as COVID-19.
Childbirth and Your Baby
Texas Health has special procedures in place to care for sick pregnant women and their newborns during and after childbirth.
Research on how COVID-19 affects pregnancy and breastfeeding has so far found that:
- Most babies born to mothers with COVID-19 have not tested positive for the virus at birth.
- The virus does not seem to spread to infants through breastmilk.
Talk to your obstetrician or midwife about any concerns you have. Take good care of yourself and your developing baby.
This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.
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