LEBANON, NH – Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life, but carrying a child during the COVID-19 pandemic can make for an unsettling experience.
“This is a scary and stressful time for everyone, and I think it’s only natural for pregnant women to be nervous about the virus and its potential implications during pregnancy,” said Julie Braga, MD, Director of general obstetrics and gynecology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. “However, from what we know thus far, it appears that this novel coronavirus is not any more dangerous for pregnant women than it is for anyone else. This is in contrast to some other viral infections, such as influenza, where we know that pregnant women can have much more serious complications.”
While data is limited, so far there is no evidence of congenital infection. Fetuses seem to be protected from infection while in the womb. When the baby is born, however, they are as vulnerable to infection as anyone else in the room without a mask. If the mother is infected or suspected of having the novel coronavirus infection, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and other hospitals are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to separate the mother and baby. While this is an incredibly emotional and difficult step to take, it is the right thing for the health of the baby. In order to prevent separation, we are recommending that pregnant women try to minimize their risk of exposure to the virus as much as possible.
Expectant mothers are encouraged to follow the same recommendations as given to others:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Avoid people who are sick.
- Practice social distancing.