SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - As cases of Coronavirus continue to spread throughout the world, our health experts are constantly updating the risks and restrictions to avoid getting infected – since they continue to learn more about the virus every day. But what about people who are pregnant? And are their babies at risk?
“In the beginning, it was definitely more of the traditional doctor’s office experience, and now, this last visit, was kind of freaky because it was just me in the waiting room. They didn’t let anyone wait with me. There was no one in the exam room. I could tell that I was the only patient there,” Stephanie Latour, who is due on April 6, explained.
As it is, pregnancy can be a very stressful time for women as their lives are continuing to change daily. Now with this pandemic, it has just added even more uncertainty.
“I just don’t want to get sick because I don’t even want to think about being sick and be pregnant. You can’t even take that many medications, so I can’t even imagine what they would do or how they could help you,” Jessica Sicre Fernandez, who is due on September 24, said.
During pregnancy, women are usually more prone to getting contagious illnesses because of changes to their immune systems – that’s why Covid-19 was first seen as a huge concern. However, new studies have changed that.
"No, they are not at any more risk than an average person. During pregnancy, women do get some relative susceptibility to get certain types of illnesses, but we don’t think that Covid-19 is one of them,” Dr. Kyle Garner, an Obstetrician-Gynecologist, tells us.
Even if they do catch the virus, although there aren’t enough studies to show how it affects pregnant women depending on how far along they are, there still isn’t a higher level of danger.
“The big benefit though is that pregnant women tend to be younger, and we know that this illness isn’t as severe in the younger population,” Dr. Kyle Garner said.
Even so, doctors are urging their patients to follow all the known guidelines.
“Stay safe. Stay inside. Avoid getting sick,” Fernandez said her doctors told her.
Plus, local hospitals are also adding their own set of restrictions for deliveries.
"We’re not allowing visitors other than the partner or significant other to come in, and we’re really limiting their ability to come in and out. We don’t want them to go out in the community and get exposed, and then come back, so those kinds of things are what we are trying to do to protect the women and newborns,” Dr. Garner explained.
However, what if expecting parents are still uneasy about going to a hospital during this pandemic?
“The hospital is still probably one of the safest places because we have instituted a lot of protection specifically for the women and children that are coming in. We’ve isolated sick patients in separate areas, and we have the best ways to clean, sterilize and disinfect,” Dr. Garner said.
Doctors say in terms of keeping newborns free from risk, the best thing to do is, of course, strict handwashing, wearing masks and breastfeeding can help babies keep their immune system up.