The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has everyone at least a little bit on edge, and pregnant women are no exception. You may be wondering how this virus affects our practice as an OB/GYN clinic.
Many things about COVID-19 are still evolving, which makes the situation fluid with the possibility of changing. However, this is a guide to what we currently know about how this virus affects pregnant and postpartum women, as well as those with other gynecological needs. Dr. Alan Patterson offers this helpful insight into how we’re managing the situation.
This is most likely the top question on your mind if you’re pregnant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like pregnancy offers any immunity to the virus, so it’s possible that you can get COVID-19 while you’re pregnant. However, data from a small number of women shows that COVID-19 doesn’t appear to pass through to the baby.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that all pregnant women should be tested before delivery if they have symptoms of the virus. Many of the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of women in labor, including diarrhea, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
We are still seeing pregnant patients, so you should call to schedule a prenatal appointment today. However, because social distancing reduces the risk of catching the virus, your prenatal care may be handled a bit differently. You’ll still receive all the prenatal care that your baby needs, but some of the appointment schedules may change.
For example, we might conduct your glucose tolerance test at a regular prenatal visit instead of at a separate appointment. This may reduce your total number of prenatal visits but ensures that you’re still correctly monitored.
One of the ways that COVID-19 has changed childbirth is that generally, you’ll only be allowed to have immediate emotional support individuals present in the delivery room with you. This may be the baby’s father, a friend, or a family member. Due to the increased risk of exposure to the virus, childbirth will be more of a private affair, as will your hospital stay.
Aside from being tested for the virus when you arrive at the hospital, the hospital staff may take other precautions if you test positive. They will also test your baby and make appropriate recommendations for breastfeeding. If you test negative for the virus, the hospital may choose to discharge you to home a bit sooner to reduce your possible exposure to others with the virus.
During the time of the virus outbreak, most people are choosing to distance themselves as much as possible from others to reduce the risk of transmission. This may look like having some elective gynecological services postponed, such as routine Pap smears. Because you can sometimes go longer than a year between Pap smears if your last one was clear, this delay generally won’t cause significant harm.
However, urgent gynecological needs will still be addressed in a timely manner. Don’t hesitate to call our office if you’re experiencing a gynecological emergency.
Some of the best precautions against catching this virus are simple, common-sense practices. They include the following:
If you can arrange for someone else to do the grocery shopping, that might be best.
If you have other concerns, Dr. Patterson and his staff are always available to address them. Contact our office in Coral Springs, Florida, if you need more reassurance or have additional questions.
We are ensuring that patients are not experiencing respiratory issues when they visit our office.
We are sanitizing all services on a regular basis.
We are wearing masks and gloves to reduce the probability of virus transmission.
We are washing our hands for 20 seconds after every interaction we have, inside and outside of the office.
Patients may not be accompanied by other people at their appointments.