Know the Facts about Coronavirus in our Community

Coronavirus Info for Expecting Mothers

Daniel Grace, MD, and Marcy Mulconry, MD, answer questions about whether expecting mothers are more at risk of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

March 20, 2020

Pregnant woman getting tested

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that has infected more than 2 million people worldwide. All demographics and age groups are at risk for infection, but as expecting women and families with newborn babies seek more information about whether they’re at greater risk, we spoke to Daniel Grace, MD, Maternal-fetal Medicine Specialist at Rochester Regional Health, and Marcy Mulconry, MD, OBGYN at Rochester Regional Health, for their input.

Q: Are pregnant women more susceptible to COVID-19 than other groups?

In general, pregnant women are at a higher risk for infection from all viruses because their immune systems are working to build up protection for their unborn child.

According to the CDC, there is currently no published scientific reports that pregnant women or newborn babies are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 than other groups.

That being said, pregnant women should continue to follow guidelines from their OBGYN and primary care providers, like taking their prenatal vitamins, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol.  

Q: Is there anything that pregnant women can do to reduce their risk of becoming infected?

Pregnant women should continue to follow guidelines from their OBGYN and primary care providers to help ensure a healthy pregnancy. Pregnant women should also practice good hygiene like handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, stay home and practice social distancing, and cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Q: What’s the difference between COVID-19 and the Zika virus?

The Zika virus is a dangerous virus that is spread mostly by mosquitoes. According to the CDC, Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn child and infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

There were no reported cases of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental U.S. in 2018 or 2019.

COVID-19 is mostly spread through droplets in the air, similar to how the seasonal flu spreads. There is much more evidence showing a pregnant woman can spread Zika to her unborn child than there is showing she can spread COVID-19 to her unborn child.

Q: What restrictions are there in hospitals for visiting expectant mothers?

Rochester Regional Health is being cautious in limiting the potential for community exposure to health teams and patients. This is an important time in someone’s life. One support person is allowed to accompany a patient in the maternity units.

Dr. Mary Bostock, OBGYN, answers your labor and delivery questions 

Q: Should expecting mothers be considering a home birth?

Home birth is never a safer choice. In this circumstance of COVID-19, it is still not a safer choice to deliver at home for the safety of both mother and baby.

Q: Do you have any recommendations for online birth classes or videos since in-person classes are cancelled?

Yes, birthing classes have been cancelled. Rochester Regional Health is in the process of launching an online birthing class. Patients who are seeking care at Rochester Regional Health will have received information on how to access online birthing classes the week of March 23. Other engaging education tools are being sent out to patients in the beginning of pregnancy with additional online videos. If you have no received information regarding online birth classes, please contact your OBGYN.

Q: How can I buy formula given the many empty shelves at grocery stores?

In some cases, grocery stores don’t have some of these items. Companies are working with pediatrics and women’s health care colleagues for a way to access formula. Companies are letting patients order directly from either its website or by phone. Those orders are being shipped directly to patients using formula. 

Get Answers to Labor and Delivery Questions