Pregnancy and COVID-19

Dr. Brendan Conboy

Dr. Brendan Conboy

While we all have concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, expectant moms are especially concerned not only for themselves, but for their unborn baby, too.

Q. Are pregnant women more susceptible to COVID-19 or at higher risk for developing complications related to the virus?

A. The limited available data suggests that pregnant women have no greater risk for developing a severe case of COVID-19 as compared with non-pregnant people of a similar age. In pregnant women who do develop COVID-19, data so far shows approximately the same rate need intensive care help. However, if a pregnant woman does develop a severe illness, which is more common in women with co-morbidities such as diabetes or asthma, this can increase her risk for pregnancy complications. Therefore, it is a good idea for pregnant women to limit their contact with people outside their home as much as feasible, practice good handwashing and wear a mask when out in public.

Q. Can a mother pass COVID-19 to her unborn baby?

A. So far, there's no definite evidence that the virus crosses the placenta and infects the fetus. Therefore, mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy is considered unlikely. However, a newborn can become infected after birth.

Q. What precautions have been taken at MidMichigan Health for women needing prenatal care?

A. MidMichigan Health is following recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. What we're doing is limiting person-to-person contact as much as possible while still providing prenatal care. For example, we can accomplish some visits virtually. For in-person visits, we're limiting time spent in waiting rooms and reception areas, we aren't allowing anyone except for the patient in the office and we're doing more frequent cleaning in the office. Patients can self-monitor at home, including monitoring their blood pressure or doing kick counts.

Q. Is it still safe for a pregnant mom to go to the hospital to deliver her baby?

A. Yes. We still recommend that women deliver at the hospital. At the hospital, we have all of the available resources to help our patients. The birthing centers at MidMichigan are all private rooms, and we are limiting the number of visitors and people in the building as well as taking extra cleaning precautions.

Q. Can pregnant women have a support person and/or a doula in the hospital with them?

A. We are following current state guidelines, and are allowing pregnant patients to have one healthy adult support person as well as a doula to come with them to the hospital.

Q. If a mother has COVID-19 when she delivers her baby, is there a need to separate her from her baby post-partum?

A. So far, if a mother tests positive for COVID-19, the CDC advises that the infant should also be tested. While those results are pending, we would temporarily isolate the baby. Once we have results, a plan of care will be determined in order to optimize their care and still enable parental bonding to the greatest extent possible.

Brendan Conboy, M.D., is an obstetrician/gynecologist at MidMichigan Health