Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new disease, meaning research and knowledge on its impact is quite limited. There is no current data that shows whether Coronavirus affects pregnant women, newborn infants, or breastfeeding mothers any differently than the normal population.
Still, it’s important for pregnant women to protect themselves from any viral infection, including Coronavirus.
“It’s understandable that pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are very concerned about potential effects on their own health and their babies during this time. Catholic Health is currently taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of its patients and staff, in accordance with the CDC and guidelines from the NYS Department of Health.
The hospital system has gone as far as converting St. Joseph Campus to a COVID-only hospital in an attempt to limit community spread. Every person who enters a Catholic Health hospital is screened with questions and has their temperature taken, including employees. Decreasing the possibility of Coronavirus transmission is one of our top priorities at this time.
If you’re having Coronavirus symptoms, please contact your physician immediately. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it is unclear if transmission of the virus to babies through amniotic fluid is possible. If you test positive for COVID-19 or have a test pending during labor or in the postpartum period, your baby can still be fed breast milk! The safest way to breastfeed in this situation is to pump (after washing your hands) and have another, non-infected person feed the baby in order to avoid potential spread. Be sure to follow recommendations for cleaning your pump between use. Our lactation specialists are more than willing to assist you!”
How Should Pregnant Women Protect Themselves from COVID-19?
At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending that pregnant women protect themselves by following the same guidelines as the general public. This includes:
- Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Distancing yourself from people who are sick
- Coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow
- Noting symptoms of a sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, or fever to your primary care provider
Is It Still Safe to Deliver My Baby at the Hospital?
Many women have started to question whether they should consider a home birth, rather than delivering in the hospital. We want to reassure these moms-to-be that the hospital is still the safest place to deliver your baby. Our healthcare practitioners recommend that you continue with the birth plan that works best for you.
Catholic Health has put recent visitor restrictions and screening measures in place to protect our patients, as well as our associates.
At this time, we are still permitting maternity patients to receive support from one visitor (spouse, family member, friend, etc.). Please note that all visitors will be asked to complete our screening process, and may be denied entry to the hospital if they have a high temperature or any abnormal symptoms.
The CDC continues to update guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Please visit their site at the link below for more information.