Pregnancy can be a time of joyous anticipation and excitement for women and their families. But the coronavirus pandemic raises concerns. If you haven’t had a COVID-19 vaccine, take steps to reduce the risk of infection. Pregnant women who have known or suspected COVID-19 infection need to be evaluated quickly to determine the severity of their symptoms and if they have risk factors that put them at risk for severe disease. Treatment for Pregnant COVID-19 Patients varies the severity of their symptoms.
Avoiding the Coronavirus During Pregnancy
Avoiding infection with the coronavirus is a top priority for pregnant women. You should do everything you can to protect yourself from getting COVID-19. Pregnant women can experience changes to their immune systems that can make them more vulnerable to respiratory viruses.
Pregnant women should be vaccinated against influenza (the flu) because if they get the flu they can get very sick, and having a high fever raises the risk of harm to your baby.
If you think you have been exposed to an infected person, and you are having COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, HA, sore throat, the new loss of taste or smell, fatigue, myalgias, GI symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting), rhinorrhea, chills, difficulty breathing and/or SOB, should be tested for infection with the SARS-CoV-2. You must call your doctor and follow his or her advice. Adhere to precautions carefully. Stay at least 6 feet from others, wear a mask, and avoid large gatherings and indoor socializing outside of your household.
Outpatient Treatment of Pregnant COVID-19 Patients
For COVID-19 in pregnancy, we can provide treatment. Several medications currently in use are also being used for our pregnant women, and early studies have shown they can provide some benefit.
Patients who are stable and not in an increased risk situation can continue to be monitored at home. Video conferencing communication is preferred to phone calls. A minimum, daily temperature with values over 38.3°C warranting further evaluation. If the patient can acquire medical devices such as a thermometer, a doppler monitor for fetal heart rate recording, she can be instructed to monitor fetal activity to reassure herself about fetal well-being. Report the findings to the OB provider during telemedicine visits. Monitoring can be completed every 2-3 days depending on the severity of COVID-19 infection. Telemedicine visits can be done more frequently for at-risk patients. Many rural and urban health institutions have already established at-home self-testing
If the patient has comorbidities known to increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infection, she is considered to be a moderate risk and should be evaluated as soon as possible in an ambulatory setting where she can test the pulse rate. Social environments where there are limited resources for remote at-home care and monitoring, no internet access, who live alone or are undomiciled, and who have limited or no transportation, may increase a pregnant woman’s risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms. Patients at risk for obstetrical complications, poor outcomes, stillbirth, and premature labor may need to be evaluated in person.
Above all, focus on taking care of yourself and your baby. Contact your health care provider to discuss any concerns. If you’re having trouble managing stress or anxiety, talk to your health care provider or a mental health counselor about coping strategies.
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