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The pandemic caused by the spread of COVID-19 has upended normal life for people across the world. Stay-at-home orders have increased the use of telemedicine and virtual services greatly. This has presented challenges for most everyone, including pregnant women.
“Women really have an unexpected stressor added to their plans for care,” said Neely Elisha, D.O., a board-certified obstetrician who delivers babies at Inspira Medical Center Vineland. “They’re worried about going to their obstetrician for visits, and that’s understandable.”
While it’s true that some extra precautions need to be taken during this time, it’s equally important to keep up with routine prenatal care to ensure the best possible health for your baby. Here are some of the most important things that you should know right now, explained by Dr. Elisha.
You Don’t Have a Higher Risk of Being Infected
Current evidence suggests that pregnant women don’t have a higher statistical risk of contracting the virus simply because they’re pregnant. However, it is important to remember that along with pregnancy comes a lowered immune system, which generally increases the severity of any virus or infection that is contracted, explains Dr. Elisha.
“A pregnant woman may potentially get sicker than other people if they contract the virus,” said Dr. Elisha. “So they should already be taking extra precautions to protect themselves—and their baby—from germs. The coronavirus has only amplified the need for these precautions.
You Will Have to Adjust Your Expectations
Traditionally, there are a handful of moments in one’s life that require a great deal of planning and bring a great deal of happiness as well—graduations, weddings, job promotions and giving birth are among these.
Prior to the pandemic, women in their second or third trimesters would have likely developed a plan for their child’s first few days—family and friends are planning to visit, baby announcements have been picked out and there is a general sense of excitement. But now, with the extreme circumstances surrounding COVID-19, most hospitals are implementing extra precautions across the board.
Most maternity centers are restricting visitors to one support partner per maternity patient. “Currently, a woman in labor at Inspira’s maternity centers can be accompanied by one support partner. Your support partner must stay inside our unit from the day of admission until discharge,” said Dawn Goffredo, R.N.-C, M.S.N., Director of Nursing, Maternal and Child Health for Inspira. Policies for women in labor may change over the course of the response to COVID-19. Inspira patients can learn more from their provider; by calling the Inspira COVID information line at (800) 772-2848; or visiting this page.
Inspira’s maternity team encourages the use of video chats for moms and their support person to keep in touch with those who would’ve been by their side in the hospital or once back at home.
Trust Your Health Care Providers
One of the most important things for pregnant women to do during this time, says Dr. Elisha, is to continue with any prenatal care routines that your doctor had advised you on before the pandemic.
Call your doctor if you’re nervous about going into their office for an appointment, and don’t be afraid to ask them what precautions they’re taking to protect you and your baby. They, too, are invested in the well-being of you and your child, and wouldn’t recommend anything that may put either of you in harm’s way.
To make an appointment with an Inspira midwife or a physician who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology call 1-800-INSPIRA.