COVID 19 has been wreaking havoc in our world lately. Total country shutdowns have happened in places like Italy and China, and here in the states, a lot of Governors have put a “shelter in place” order. This makes it so only “essential” personnel can leave their home and continue work. This has caused major changes for nearly everyone, but what do these changes mean for those who are pregnant?
The CDC’s website has a section for pregnancy and breastfeeding, but since the illness is so new, there is no solid information about how COVID 19 will affect you as a pregnant or breastfeeding person. The best thing at this point is to do everything you can to prevent getting COVID 19. To prevent COVID 19, it’s important for you to wash your hands frequently, social distance yourself from people you don’t live with, avoid touching your face and covering your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
According to the CDC and WHO, it is still unclear weather COVID 19 is passed to her baby during pregnancy or birth and to date, the virus has not been found in amniotic fluid or breastmilk. So far, this is a good thing! But it’s still important to consider all of your options during birth while COVID 19 is considered a pandemic.
Home Birth – A lot of women have started looking at home birth as an option for their birth. This option isn’t for everyone, but it can be an option for low risk women who are wanting to avoid hospitals (full of sick people!) I know many home midwives who are accepting a transfer of care with women who are late into their third trimester. If you think home birth is an option for you, it’s never too late into your pregnancy to meet with a midwife and see if it’s possible.
Birth Center – Birth center births are another option for those looking to birth outside of the hospital, but don’t have the space or desire to birth at home. Birth centers have all of the tools needed for a wonderful birth outside of the hospital and are usually willing to accept patients even late into their third trimester.
Staying at the Hospital – Staying at the hospital is still a choice! Typically, people with COVID 19 wouldn’t be making their way through labor and delivery to get to where they’re going and pregnant/birthing people confirmed or suspected to have COVID 19 will likely be quarantined in a special part of the floor. But do keep in mind – hospitals are limiting visitors and your partner will likely be the only person allowed with you. If you have a dolula, photographer, mom, etc. they likely wont be allowed in the room with you anytime soon.
The CDC strongly recommends the separation of mother and baby for 2 weeks if mother is confirmed or suspected to have COVID 19, BUT it is not required. You DO have a choice in the matter and if you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID 19, it’s important you discuss this information with your care provider.
While the CDC recommends separation, the World Health Organization recommends skin to skin and breastfeeding, while taking the proper precautions to limit the transfer of COVID 19 to your infant (for example, wearing protective equipment like a mask and gloves, washing your hands frequently, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, etc.)
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