ATLANTA — Nine months of waiting for your little one is usually time for excitement, but expectant moms are facing new worries amid the coronavirus epidemic.
Last week, the CDC issued new guidelines that could mean pregnant women who become infected or exposed to the coronavirus could be separated from their newborn for up to a week or more. To alleviate concerns, 11Alive medical correspondent Dr. Sujatha Reddy walks us through what is known:
I'm pregnant. How do I protect myself from COVID-19?
Dr. Reddy: "So pregnant women, because we know their immune system is slightly suppressed, should take the exact same precautions as everyone else is. Right now that's social distancing. [Staying] at home is the most important thing for pregnant women to do, also the frequent handwashing. Don't touch your eyes, nose and mouth, and wipe down the frequent surfaces that are frequently touched."
Will I have to change my birth plan?
Dr. Reddy: "Personally, I think some birth plans are going to have to change in this new temporary normal we're living in because of COVID-19. Hospitals are restricting visitors, and I checked with Northside where I work and right now for labor and delivery Northside is saying a mom can pick one person to stay with her. So, a mom may have hoped to have her mother or mother-in-law and spouse in the room, and that's not going to happen right now."
"Definitely things are going to change, but I don't think it's going to impact having a healthy delivery."
Will the hospital have enough supplies?
Dr. Reddy: "One thing I'm hearing is that patients are very concerned about the shortage of medical supplies…people are worried if they are going to have enough equipment to deliver their baby."
"The stuff that we use in labor and delivery is different. We do use some masks and gowns, etc, but labor and delivery are really a protected space in the hospital, and I think hospitals are really going to make sure they can take care of our most valuable commodity which is moms and babies."
According to Dr. Reddy, there is still conflicting information about whether COVID-19 can be passed down from mom to baby. The research, Dr. Reddy said, is changing daily.
She said those who are concerned about the new CDC guidelines should be aware that each hospital is different in its application of the guidelines and know that a need to separate mom and baby would only be for the newborn's best interest.
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