Pregnancy and the Pandemic
Pregnant with her third child, Brandi Moore is taking the precautions that she’s supposed to take during the coronavirus pandemic — checking her temperature, wearing a mask, washing her hands and social distancing – but she’s not stressing about it.
Brandi, Monroe, Tyler and Matt Moore
“I know I have to be aware of my body,” Brandi says. “I’m heeding all of the advice. And I have to be aware of another person.”
According to her OBGYN, Dr. Lauralee Ribaudo, Brandi is doing everything right.
“For the most part, assuming the mom is healthy and has no underlying conditions [that put her at risk],” Dr. Ribaudo says, “the precautions are the same as for everyone else.”
Dr. Ribaudo assures women that there is nothing different that they need to do.
“It’s kind of scary out there, and there are a lot of unknowns, but even those pregnant women who have tested positive have mostly been light cases,” Dr. Ribaudo says. “Severe cases are few and far between.”
Brandi says the pandemic has changed appointment protocol, but she is glad that the office is taking extra precautions to limit the number of people she and the office staff are exposed to. She waits in her car until the office calls her in, everyone wears masks and she is never exposed to other patients.
“In the past, my husband could come to every appointment,” Brandi says, “but now they only allow him to come to the two ultrasound appointments.”
Dr. Ribaudo says office procedures may vary, but her practice only allowing one person in at a time is a precautionary measure to make both the staff and the patient feel secure. She also has patients fill out information in advance to decrease time spent in the office.
Communication with pregnant women and their partners is also key to tamping down any anxiety they may feel. If a mom has COVID-19, it is possible that the infant could contract it, but Dr. Ribaudo says hospitals are doing a good job of distancing moms and babies, if that is the case. She talks to her patients about rooming-in and other concerns they may have.
“Remember, the primary mode of infection is still respiratory droplets,” she says. “A baby born to a mom who is positive is kept isolated from the other babies until they have negative test results twice.”
Some early research indicates that moms who test positive may safely continue to breastfeed.
“There was a small study of breastfeeding moms with COVID just published in Lancet (a medical journal), and none of the babies got it.”
The COVID-19 positive mothers were able to breastfeed their babies while taking the usual precautions of mask-wearing, hand-washing and letting other people do the rest of the care for the babies.
“I’m not worried about myself or my baby,” Brandi says. “I’m in fear of not having the usual experience [at the hospital]. I want the normalcy of people being able to visit, but I also know that I’m in the hospital, and I want it to be safe.”
She also worries that it will be the first time away from her children, and they may not be able to come to the hospital to see the baby.
“They don’t understand it,” Brandi says. “You feel guilty.”
Dr. Ribaudo says that while visitors are being limited at this time, women should not be worried about having their spouse or significant other with them during labor and delivery.
“We’ve never had a situation where they can’t go in,” she says. “They’re limited to one visitor or support person during labor and delivery. A doula would be considered a visitor.”
Ultimately, Dr. Ribauldo says that moms shouldn’t be overly anxious about being pregnant or delivering during the pandemic. They should get regular prenatal care and follow their doctor’s advice.
“Don’t have this hanging over your pregnancy,” she says. “The pregnancies are doing very well. Enjoy your pregnancy!”