Pregnant women could be at a higher risk for Covid 19 compared to the general population. CDC advises that certain underlying medical conditions might increase the risk for developing a severe illness from a coronavirus.
Also, there is a higher chance of preterm birth or delivering the baby before 37 weeks. Therefore, pregnant women need to understand how to protect themselves from being infected with Covid 19.
Increased Risk of Severe Illness
Respiratory viruses such as Covid 19 can infect pregnant women easier because of the changes in the body the pregnancy causes. That could lead to hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help breathe normally. According to CDC updated data as of Oct. 14, 2021, some underlying medical conditions that put people at risk for severe illness from the virus could be chronic lung and liver disease.
In Sept. 2021, mental health disorders such as depression and schizophrenia spectrum disorders were added to the list based on evidence from published reports, scientific articles, and internal data. In addition, some factors can contribute to the risk involved of being infected, such as:
age (older than 25 years); living in a community with the higher number of Covid 19 cases or with low levels of vaccination; working in places where a social distance is less than 6 feet apart from people.
Covid 19 Vaccine and Pregnancy
Based on CDC recommendations, vaccination is recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding, or getting pregnant.
CDC also provides some help about vaccination during pregnancy with special service MotherToBaby.
Experts are available during weekdays to answer questions over the phone, email, or chat in English or Spanish.
For fully vaccinated people
The purpose of being vaccinated is to provide protection from variants, prevent severe illness, hospitalizations, and possible death. It also prevents spreading the virus to others and allows them to continue participating in activities involved before the pandemic.
To reduce the risk of not being fully vaccinated
Some essential recommendations to stay healthy from Covid-19: try to get the vaccine as soon as you can; wear a mask to protect yourself and others; keep a social distance of 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you; stay away from crowds and poorly ventilated indoor areas; wash your hands thoroughly with soap or use sanitizer.
Stay healthy during and after your pregnancy
Don’t cancel appointments with your healthcare provider because of the fear of Covid-19. Try to keep all your scheduled appointments. If you are more comfortable staying at home, ask about telemedicine options such as Skype or Zoom with your doctor when possible. You might need help finding a healthcare professional. In that case, you can try to go to the nearest hospital or a community health center.
Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about staying healthy and taking care of yourself and the baby; find out the best options for delivering the baby, including places and trained healthcare professionals; talk to your healthcare professional if you have depression during or after pregnancy.
It is important to get recommended vaccines during pregnancy, such as the flu vaccine.
CDC also recommends that pregnant women get the Tdap vaccine to prevent whooping cough. It is because the symptoms of whooping cough could be similar to symptoms of Covid 19.
If you have urgent material warning signs and symptoms such as constant headache, fever, chest pain, fast heartbeat, swelling of the hand, face, or legs, severe nausea or vaginal bleeding or discharge during or after pregnancy seek medical care immediately.
What to do if you are sick or think you’re exposed to Covid-19
If you have any symptoms of Covid 19 such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, the new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or running nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea contact your healthcare professional immediately or at least for 24 hours.
In case if you are diagnosed with Covid 19 and breastfeeding, CDC provides some guidance caring for newborns. There is no current evidence that breast milk will spread the virus to babies.