Women's Health

Coronavirus Information for Expecting Mothers

Doctors Daniel Grace, MD, and Marcy Mulconry, MD, answer questions about whether expecting mothers are more at risk of getting COVID-19.

Mar. 20, 2020 3   min read

Pregnant women getting tested

Expecting mothers and families with newborn babies are seeking more information about whether they’re at greater risk of getting COVID-19, so we spoke to Daniel Grace, MD, Maternal-fetal Medicine Specialist at Rochester Regional Health, and Marcy Mulconry, MD, OBGYN at Rochester Regional Health, for their input.

Are pregnant women more susceptible to COVID-19?

In general, pregnant women are at a higher risk for infection from all viruses because their immune systems are working to build up protection for their unborn child.

According to the CDC, there is currently no published scientific reports that pregnant women or newborn babies are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 than other groups.

That being said, pregnant women should continue to follow guidelines from their OBGYN and primary care providers, like taking their prenatal vitamins, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol.

What can pregnant women can do to reduce their risk of infection?

Pregnant women should continue to follow guidelines from their OBGYN and primary care providers to help ensure a healthy pregnancy. Pregnant women should also practice good hygiene like handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, stay home and practice social distancing, and cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

What’s the difference between COVID-19 and Zika?

The Zika virus is a dangerous virus that is spread mostly by mosquitoes. According to the CDC, Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn child and infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

There were no reported cases of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental U.S. in 2018 or 2019.

COVID-19 is mostly spread through droplets in the air, similar to how the seasonal flu spreads. There is much more evidence showing a pregnant woman can spread Zika to her unborn child than there is showing she can spread COVID-19 to her unborn child.

What restrictions are there in hospitals for visiting expectant mothers?

Rochester Regional Health is being cautious in limiting the potential for community exposure to health teams and patients. This is an important time in someone’s life. One support person is allowed to accompany a patient in the maternity units.

Dr. Mary Bostock, OBGYN, answers your labor and delivery questions 

Should expecting mothers consider a home birth?

Home birth is never a safer choice. In this circumstance of COVID-19, it is still not a safer choice to deliver at home for the safety of both mother and baby.

Are you offering any online birth classes or videos?

Patients who are seeking care at Rochester Regional Health will have received information on how to access online birthing classes the week of March 23. Other engaging education tools are being sent out to patients in the beginning of pregnancy with additional online videos. If you have no received information regarding online birth classes, please contact your OBGYN.

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