April 24, 2020
What to expect when you’re expecting during COVID-19
KC CARE is here for you and your baby as you navigate this difficult time while you’re pregnant. The COVID-19 outbreak adds an extra layer to consider in your healthcare, but we are committed to caring for you and your baby during your pregnancy.
What do we know about COVID-19 and how it impacts pregnancy and your baby?
Current reports show that pregnant women are not necessarily more susceptible than the general public. But researchers are still learning how the illness affects pregnant women. Pregnant women can experience more severe symptoms in respiratory illness in general because of their lowered immune system. Doctors urge pregnant women to take the same steps as the general public to avoid coronavirus infection.
It’s too early for researchers to know how COVID-19 might affect a fetus. Some pregnant women with COVID-19 have had preterm births, but it is not clear whether the preterm births were because of COVID-19. It is not likely that COVID-19 passes to a fetus during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, but more research is needed. However, person-to-person transmission is possible after the baby is born, so extra precautions will be important.
So far, the virus has not been found in breast milk. But there is not enough information yet on whether women who are sick can pass the virus through breast milk. Breast milk gives babies protection against many illnesses. It also is the best source of nutrition for most babies. Talk with your ob-gyn or other healthcare professional about whether to start or continue breastfeeding. You can make this decision together with your family and healthcare team.
What should you know about your prenatal care at KC CARE?
KC CARE has moved our prenatal care appointments to our Homeroom Health location (1106 E. 30th Street – Suite B, Kansas City, MO 64109) until further notice. This change will help to minimize our pregnant patients’ exposure to patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
At each of our locations, all staff, patients, and other guests will be screened for fever and COVID-19 symptoms and will be provided a suitable face covering if they do not already have one. In order to minimize how many people are at our locations, we ask that you attend your appointment at our Homeroom Health location alone. Please let us know in advance if you will be accompanied by others.
Your prenatal care team is here to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Your doctor will speak to you about your birth plan and let you know what to expect at the hospital for your delivery. Many healthcare providers are taking additional precautions to protect patients, their babies, and the staff.
Read more about KC CARE’s prenatal services.
What should you do if you’re pregnant and think you have COVID-19?
The following recommendations come directly from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
If you think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus and have a fever or cough, call your ob-gyn or other healthcare professional for advice.
If you have emergency warning signs, call 911 or go to the hospital right away. Emergency warning signs include the following:
- Having a hard time breathing or shortness of breath (more than what has been normal for you during pregnancy)
- Ongoing pain or pressure in the chest
- Sudden confusion or being unable to respond to others
- Blue lips or face
If you go to the hospital, try to call ahead to let them know you are coming so they can prepare.
If you have other symptoms that worry you, call your ob-gyn or 911.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, follow the advice from the CDC and your ob-gyn or other healthcare professional. The current CDC advice for all people with COVID-19 includes the following:
- Stay home except to get medical care. Avoid public transportation.
- Speak with your healthcare team over the phone before going to their office. Get medical care right away if you feel worse or think it’s an emergency.
- Separate yourself from other people in your home.
- Wear a face mask when you are around other people and when you go to get medical care.
How can I avoid getting COVID-19 while pregnant?
The most important things that you can do to prevent contracting COVID-19 while pregnant are the same recommendations we give all our patients, especially washing your hands, wearing a mask, and observing social distancing.
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Locally, you may also want to take the opportunity to use special shopping hours at local grocery stores. For instance, HyVee has reserved 7-8 AM for shoppers deemed high-risk for COVID-19: expectant mothers, shoppers age 60+, and those with other underlying health conditions.
After your baby is born, you’ll want to be especially careful about washing your hands before you touch your baby and as you wash and handle your breast pump or bottle parts. Your doctor may also have recommendations specific to you and your baby and may ask you to wear a mask while breastfeeding if you’ve been exposed to the virus.
We continue to follow governmental guidance about social distancing, which we recognize is the best strategy for slowing the spread of COVID-19. As your healthcare provider, we think you should avoid groups of people larger than 10 – for your safety and the safety of others.
Resources for COVID-19 Information:
- Previous KC CARE blog posts on COVID-19
- Information from Kansas City, Missouri government
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Lastly, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or healthcare workers needing guidance regarding COVID-19. The hotline is available 24/7, is operated by medical professionals, and can be reached at 877-435-8411
We need your help to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
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