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COVID-19

Pregnancy and COVID-19: What you need to know

By
Asima Ahmad, MD, MPH, Carrot Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer
Pregnancy and COVID-19: What you need to know
April 15, 2020
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Our Coronavirus Resource Center is available for anyone who has questions about how efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 are impacting the pursuit of parenthood. It is constantly being updated with answers to your questions, links to resources, and the latest guidance from global experts.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues throughout the world, pregnant women are having to make tough decisions and reconsider their pregnancy and birth plans as the situation evolves. Many people pursuing this path to parenthood have questions about both the disease itself and how it may affect pre- and post-natal care. Here’s what we currently know about COVID-19 and its effects on pregnancy, as well as how it may impact your healthcare plans.

COVID-19 and pregnancy

While data is limited, according to the WHO, there is currently no evidence to suggest those who are pregnant are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection compared to those who are not pregnant. There has been some early data suggesting that vertical transmission of COVID-19 from mother to baby may be possible; research is ongoing. 


The WHO still recommends those who are pregnant take precautions against exposure since changes during pregnancy can leave one more susceptible to severe symptoms when sick. 

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. 
  • Practice social distancing, avoiding crowded spaces and maintaining space from others. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. 
  • If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical care but contact the facility before going in — some facilities may have specific procedures for individuals who may have suspected or documented COVID-19. 
  • Some organizations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the United Nations Population Fund have started recommending that pregnant women wear masks or face coverings for additional protection.


At the end of this post, we’ve included a list of some of the regional and national resources offering guidance on COVID-19 and pregnancy. 

How your care may be impacted — and what you can do

Appointments during pregnancy

Like other healthcare providers, many obstetricians are moving appointments online. While some appointments that require imaging or other tests will continue to be conducted in-person, expect to have more telehealth check-ins with your provider during this time. If your in-person appointments are in a hospital setting, keep in mind that many hospitals are restricting visitors. If you were planning to bring a partner or loved one to your appointment, check with your provider in advance. If they aren’t allowing in-person visitors, it may be okay to use Facetime, Zoom, or use another video chat service to share these moments with others, even if they may not be in the same room. Again, check with your provider first, as in some cases, video services may not be permissible.


Your birth plan

Even in normal circumstances, birth plans can have unexpected disruptions. With the additional strain on the healthcare system and constantly-changing hospital protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents-to-be should expect that there may be some changes to their birth plans. Since every hospital is different, the best way to be prepared is to stay in touch with your healthcare provider — it’s best to start having those discussions closer to delivery (around 34 weeks).

To make sure you know what to potentially expect, here are a few of the more common precautions we’ve seen hospitals take:

  • Some hospitals are now requiring all patients being admitted to the labor and delivery unit to be tested for COVID-19. However, at this time, this is not an universally adopted practice and may be subject to change.
  • Visitors are often strictly limited. This includes the number of people allowed to be present during delivery (with many hospitals allowing only one person at this time) and visitors before and after delivery. If you’re planning to have a doula present during your labor, check with your hospital to see if they will be considered a visitor as policies can vary.
  • Some hospitals are asking patients to wear a face mask during delivery to help reduce the risk of infection to both healthcare workers and other patients.

What to do if you become ill

Stay at home. If possible, stay at home if you develop symptoms. Keep in mind that the symptoms of infection are not uniform and can present as a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness to severe illness requiring hospitalization. This will help protect people around you from becoming ill and limit the spread of this disease. 

Call your doctor. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, follow your regional and national guidance on what to do and the best way to access care. It’s advised that individuals who are immunosuppressed refrain from entering high risk areas, such as doctor’s offices, emergency rooms, or urgent care, to reduce contracting or spreading disease. Again, if you are  pregnant, contact your medical professional for advice based on your individual needs. 

If you are seeking treatment at this time, please reach out to your doctor to find out how this may impact your treatment plan. Carrot members can also reach out to the Carrot Care team with any questions about your pregnancy, fertility, or adoption journey.

You can find the latest COVID-19 and pregnancy information from the following resources:

Global / International

Regional

National

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Carrot Fertility makes no representations or warranties and expressly disclaims any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app.

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