What to Know About Pregnancy & COVID-19

By: Dr. Carlos Ballesteros, OBGYN
DHR Health Women’s Hospital

The pandemic has been the source of anxiety over the past several months, especially among pregnant women who are getting closer to their due dates. Pregnancy and childbirth can be stressful, and I know the new coronavirus has been causing patients serious strain. Here are ways to help you relax and get the answers to questions you might have about delivering a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What can I do to prepare for delivery? To decrease the risk of acquiring COVID-19 prior to delivery, patients are encouraged to self-quarantine at home two weeks prior to the expected delivery date.

Will I get tested for COVID 19? Anyone who is scheduled to be induced or for a cesarean section should be tested for COVID-19 up to seven days before their scheduled delivery.  Hospital may also be equipped with rapid testing capability for deliveries in cases where a more urgent delivery is needed.

Will I be allowed to have a visitor while in labor and postpartum? During your labor and delivery, one healthy visitor is allowed.  To help limit the spread of COVID-19, it is recommended that you make plans to have the same individual throughout your stay.   Patients and support persons will also be asked to be masked while at the hospital.

How many days will I be in the hospital after giving birth?  The time in the hospital will vary depending on the mother and baby, the goal is to send families home safely. Every patient is different and the type of birth could affect the length of stay, but it’s safe to plan a stay between 1-2 days.

What precautions should I take with a newborn? According to the CDC, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. The same precautions you took before giving birth apply while caring for your newborn such as staying at home, avoiding having visitors and sick people and practicing proper hand hygiene. If you want show-off your beautiful new addition to your family and friends, the safest option is via pictures and video.

What happens if I test positive for COVID 19? Your provider will be notified and will discuss care during your pregnancy. Watch for symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, new loss of taste or smell, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.  Report any illness to your provider.

Should my partner and anyone I am in close contact with get tested if I am COVID 19 positive? It is recommended for family members who have been in close contact with you to discuss testing and monitoring with their primary doctor.

How will my labor experience be if I am COVID 19 positive? You will have a dedicated nurse and fewer staff will come in and out of your room. Being COVID-19 positive does not affect the type of delivery or your choice of pain control.

How will postpartum change for me and my baby if I am COVID-19 positive? Your provider and your pediatrician may recommend separation from your baby. This will be decided through shared decision making between you and your provider or pediatrician and options like a healthy person visiting the baby and participating in their care may be available.