Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health shares information for expectant moms

Henrietta Strickland
March 28, 2020

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 it has been largely posited that pregnant women are more at risk of contracting and developing severe symptoms of COVID-19, this arises from the general knowledge that expectant women are more susceptible to a lot of illnesses, including the viral kind. At this time, we don't know if the virus that causes COVID-19 can cause miscarriage. Because this particular type of coronavirus, SARS-Cov-2 which causes COVID-19, is new to the US population - and the world - a lot of questions remain unanswered.

Pregnant women should take the same precautions to avoid Covid-19 infection as other people.

The WHO provides recommendations on a number of topics relating to COVID-19 and how it may impact pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.

If you have covid-19, what happens after baby is born?

Coronavirus was not detected in the amniotic fluid when tests were carried out.

No, WHO advice is that caesarean sections should only be performed when medically justified. The mode of birth should be individualized and based on a woman's preferences alongside obstetric indications.

Yes, women with Covid-19 can breastfeed if they wish to do so.

Wash hands before and after touching the baby. Dr. Patrick Ramsey, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at University Health System, notes "the good news is that there does not appear to be a significant risk for birth defects related to infections with other types of coronaviruses, so we anticipate the risk for birth defects with COVID-19 will not be increased".

Yes. Close contact along with early, exclusive breastfeeding helps a baby to thrive.

"If you are COVID-19 positive, you will be placed in an isolation room, and once the baby is born, he or she will be isolated and tested for COVID-19", Gaither said. You should wash your hands before and after touching your baby, and keep all surfaces clean.

I have Covid-19 and am too unwell to breastfeed my baby directly. This could include expressing milk; relactation [which is the process of resuming breastfeeding after a period of no breastfeeding or very little breastfeeding]; and using donor human milk. "Research shows the risk of premature birth decreases by 60 percent when pregnant women have vitamin D blood serum levels of 40 ng/ml or higher".

Research is now underway to understand the impacts of COVID-19 infection on pregnant women. But no conclusion was drawn from this limited data. "However, from what we know thus far, it appears that this novel coronavirus is not any more unsafe for pregnant women than it is for anyone else". It is therefore important that they take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19, and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty breathing) to their healthcare provider.

It has also indicated that it will continue to review and update the information and guidance it provides as more data become available.

Pregnant women should also focus on remaining calm during this time and keeping up with prenatal care visits.

All pregnant women, including those with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infections, have the right to high quality care before, during and after childbirth.

This includes antenatal, newborn, postnatal, intrapartum and mental health care.

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