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Pregnancy and the Coronavirus

Many expectant mothers are concerned about their pregnancy in the midst of the coronavirus. Understandably so! With still developing information, anxiety and stress levels are running rampant. If I get the virus, what about my baby? How will the virus affect me as a pregnant woman? What can I do to reduce my risk of catching the coronavirus? What happens if I go into labor, but have been asked to self-isolate? All of these questions and more have been flooding in.

If you find yourself in a similar boat and are worried about the potential risk factors the coronavirus can have on your pregnancy, you’re not alone. Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is staying as up-to-date as possible with the available information about COVID-19. We promise to do our utmost to ensure the health and safety of you and your baby.

Disclaimer: The following information is meant for educational purposes only. It is not to be taken as medical advice. Please be sure to consult with your doctor and care team with any questions or concerns regarding your best options for your pregnancy in the midst of the coronavirus.

Why are Pregnant Women Considered “Vulnerable” and “More at Risk”?

Even though pregnant women were placed in the “vulnerable category” on March 16th, it isn’t known whether or not pregnancy in the midst of the coronavirus poses a greater risk itself than it does for anyone else catching the virus. However, because doctors, midwives and obstetricians want to ensure the health and safety of both you and your baby, they have decided to air on the side of caution.

For years, it’s been understood that there is an elevated risk of pregnant women developing respiratory infections during pregnancy because of the physical changes they undergo. This could include, but is not limited to: influenza, pneumonia and other viral illnesses. So, it’s essential for you to take care of yourself throughout your pregnancy journey.

Does the Coronavirus Increase Risks for Pregnancy Complications?

Based on the current data the CDC has collected from pregnant women, the coronavirus does not appear to increase your risk for miscarriages or any other complications. Gynecologists and obstetricians note that if you have COVID-19 while pregnant, you may have a higher risk of preterm birth. Yet, other than that, the information related to the coronavirus’ effect on your pregnancy is extremely limited.

Can COVID-19 be Passed from Expectant Mother to Baby?

No. As of this point, there is no evidence to support that the coronavirus passes from you to your baby. The CDC studied nine pregnant women who had symptoms of the virus and found no evidence within the amniotic fluid, the babies’ throats or breast milk. The babies did not show any fetal malformations either. These findings revealed that the risk of the virus transmitting to your baby is very low.

How can a Pregnant Woman Reduce her Risk of Catching COVID-19?

If you are experiencing pregnancy in the midst of the coronavirus, it’s vital for you to follow the same guidelines given to the general public:

  1. Cover your cough / Cough into your elbow
  2. Avoid people who are sick
  3. Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for 20 seconds and/or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  4. Stay home if you are sick
  5. Self-isolate for 14 days if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus
  6. Call your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen and ask for his or her advice

What Happens with Labor if a Pregnant Woman has Been Asked to Self-Isolate?

If you go into labor, but have been suspected or confirmed of having the coronavirus, call your doctor right away. Let them know what is going on, ask for his or her advice, then be sure to let your maternity unit know about your potential diagnosis. If your symptoms are mild, you will most likely be encouraged to continue self-isolation for early labor.

Once your labor progresses, and you need to go to the hospital, you should comply with the following recommendations:

  1. Arrive via private transport if possible
  2. Wear a surgical face mask from the moment you arrive until you are isolated in an appropriate hospital room
  3. Undergo a coronavirus test when available
  4. Limit visitors to your birth partner only and/or the adoptive parents, if permitted (this may differ from state to state and hospital to hospital)

Is Breastfeeding Safe if the Expectant Mother has COVID-19?

Currently, there is no known evidence of the coronavirus being transmitted through breastfeeding. Much is still unclear about how the virus spreads, though the greatest amount of transmission is thought to be through respiratory droplets. This is not unlike how the seasonal flu spreads from person-to-person when an infected individual coughs or sneezes near or on someone who is not infected.

That said, with the limited studies on women done thus far, no traces or evidence of the coronavirus has been detected in breast milk. So, if you are thinking of breastfeeding or are currently breastfeeding, you don’t need to discontinue. Breast milk still holds necessary nutrients and will help strengthen the baby’s immune system.

Pregnancy in the Midst of the Coronavirus

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma understands that the current pandemic is raising a lot of questions and concerns regarding your pregnancy in the midst of the coronavirus. Your stress is felt and heard, and we are committed to helping you in any way we can during this uncertain time.

Despite the closures and restrictions throughout the country, know that our doors will remain open. Procedures may change to accommodate the CDC guidelines, which are meant to benefit everyone’s health and safety, but we are still very much here for you and dedicated to walking alongside you every step of your adoption journey.

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is a private adoption agency, licensed by the state of Oklahoma and leader in the adoption community. We have been assisting birth parents, children, and adoptive families in Oklahoma for over 19 years. Our staff members are committed to providing an ethical, empowering, and personalized adoption experience to all involved in the adoption process.  If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.

However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.

About the Author

Rachel RobertsonRachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.

In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.

When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.

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Sources:

“If You’re Pregnant, Here’s What to Know About the Coronavirus.” Healthline, Healthline, www.healthline.com/health-news/if-youre-pregnant-heres-what-to-know-about-the-coronavirus#Can-it-be-passed-to-my-fetus-in-the-womb.

“Pregnancy and Breastfeeding.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html.

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