If you are pregnant, you likely have questions about COVID-19 and how the virus can affect you, your baby and your childbirth experience. Please know we are staying on top of this evolving situation and following CDC guidelines as we continue to provide the best care for you and your baby.
Below are answers to our most common questions related to COVID-19 and pregnancy.
What precautions should I be taking while pregnant?
During pregnancy, your immune system is less quick to respond to germs so you are more likely to become sick. To decrease your chance of getting or spreading COVID-19 while pregnant:
- Avoid crowded spaces and social gatherings. Stay home as much as possible. If you need to go somewhere, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Keep 6 feet of space between you and other people.
- Wash your hands well with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer often. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Starting 2 weeks before delivery, usually around 37 weeks, we recommend:
- Strict social distancing, staying away from anyone you don’t live with.
- Do not leave your house unless you absolutely have to.
If I’m positive for COVID-19 will my baby also test positive?
We do not know if a mom who has tested positive for COVID-19 will give the virus to her baby. Data at this time shows that babies did not test positive for COVID-19 if they were kept away from the mothers while the mother had the virus.
If I’m COVID-19 positive, is my baby more likely to be born early?
Preterm birth, when babies are born early, has been reported among babies born to moms with COVID-19.
What is the hospital doing to protect me and my baby from COVID-19 during my stay?
When you arrive at the hospital, you and your visitors (such as your partner or support person) will be screened. Each staff member is also screened daily to ensure they are healthy to care for you and your baby. Throughout your care, we closely follow the CDC recommendations, like wearing the proper protective equipment (masks, clothing and gloves) when caring for you and your baby. The labor and delivery staff, including your provider, is prepared to care for you and your baby. In addition, most visitors, patients and team members are required to follow these masking guidelines while in our facilities.
How has the visitor policy changed for childbirth?
All BJC HealthCare facilities continue to be mindful of the seriousness of COVID-19 and operate with the safety of our patients and team members as the top priority. Until the threat of COVID-19 has been significantly reduced, a limited visitor policy is in place.
Should I quarantine my newborn from any and all visitors?
At the hospital we are taking every precaution to safeguard your baby’s health.
When at home, to keep you and your baby safe, we recommend using the same precautions that have been set in place for our entire community: proper and frequent handwashing, staying away from individuals who are sick, practicing social-distancing (6 feet or more), and shelter in place with members of your immediate household. Currently, it is still unknown whether newborns are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 complications, so it is best to err on the side of caution. We realize having a newborn can already feel isolating to some, and in these times, this feeling of isolation can increase, so staying connected with your support system is very important. Video calls are a great way to introduce your new baby to friends and extended family members! We recommend you discussing this further with your pediatrician.
What risks does COVID-19 pose to my baby?
Babies can contract COVID-19 when in contact with infectious respiratory secretions from coughing, sneezing or other respiratory droplets, but it is unknown at this time whether newborns with COVID-19 are at increased risk for severe complications. Babies and children with COVID-19 typically have more mild symptoms with serious problems being rare. There is no information on the long-term health effects for the baby.
Can I breastfeed if I start experiencing symptoms?
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. Currently, information regarding transmission through breastmilk is unclear. So far, the virus has not been found in amniotic fluid or breastmilk. Questions should be addressed with your pediatrician. If mothers test positive for COVID-19, they should discuss breastfeeding and having close contact with their babies with their medical providers.