Pregnancy is an exciting time for expecting moms. Finding out the gender of your baby, decorating a nursery, and having a (virtual or socially distanced) baby shower are just a few of the ways moms-to-be can prepare for the newest member of their family. But being pregnant during a pandemic has created new challenges and worries. What happens if you contract COVID-19 while pregnant?
Many changes happen in a woman’s body during pregnancy. To protect the baby from disease, certain parts of the mother’s immune system are suppressed. This makes her more susceptible to diseases that may not otherwise make her sick. Additionally, during the last trimester of pregnancy the uterus pushes up against the diaphragm, which can cause shortness of breath. Women towards the end of their pregnancy may experience severe shortness of breath if they get COVID-19, since this is one of the major symptoms.
Doctors already knew that pregnant women are more likely to develop complications from respiratory illnesses like the flu. For this reason, since the start of the pandemic pregnant women were thought to be at higher risk of becoming severely ill or developing complications from COVID-19, even though we didn’t know much about the virus at that time. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies pregnant women as a high risk group. Therefore, pregnant women and those who live with them should take extra precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19.
In addition to following protective measures, one of the most important things women can to do protect themselves and their baby is to make healthy lifestyle choices. Eating healthy, exercising (with approval from your obstetrician), going to all of your doctor’s appointments, and getting necessary vaccines during your pregnancy are all ways to keep yourself and your baby healthy.
If you are pregnant and have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or test positive, it’s important to call your obstetrician right away. They will want to monitor you and your baby closely to make sure everything is moving forward normally with your pregnancy.
*Please note that information in this article is current as of the date of publication. More details may become available on this topic and this article may not be updated to reflect current facts. If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider.