Spectrum Health discusses pregnancy and COVID-19


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Pregnancy during a pandemic can be very frightening. Dr. Michael Tsimis, a maternal fetal medicine specialist with Spectrum Health Medical Group is here to help provide advice and guidance.

Is pregnancy a risk factor for COVID-19?

  • No evidence that pregnant women are more susceptible to getting COVID-19 than the average healthy adult
  • However, because women experience changes in their immune system during pregnancy, it’s always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illness.

How can pregnant women protect themselves and their baby?

  • Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection: hand hygiene, cover coughs, social distancing and avoiding those who are sick.

What does prenatal care look like right?

  • Prenatal care is very important to the health of mom and baby, so we ask women to come to their appointments as scheduled.
  • Visitor restrictions apply to outpatient visits: no visitors for regular OB/GYN appointments, one visitor is allowed with mother for maternal fetal medicine appointments.
  • Spectrum Health will be offering virtual options in the future that will allow patients to get some of their prenatal care from home, instead of coming to the office.

What should women due in the coming weeks know about hospital deliveries?

  • Hospitals are still the safest place to have your baby; research shows hospital births are for far less likely than home births to lead to stillbirth or newborn death.
  • Our labor and delivery units are here and ready.
  • We have a plan to isolate any COVID-19 pregnant patients from other patients.
  • One visitor/support person is allowed to come with you for your delivery.
  • Our hospitals have limited entrances and are screening at entry points of hospital.
  • What if moms get sick with COVID while pregnant?
  • If you have mild to moderate symptoms, stay home. Call your obstetrical provider if you have shortness of breath, with fever and cough.
  • Spectrum Health hospitals are prepared to care for women who are pregnant and severely ill with COVID-19.

Can you pass COVID to a baby during delivery? Through breastmilk?

  • Although there is not much research on that question, what is available so far is reassuring. A study focused on nine women in China who had the disease when they gave birth.
  • Researchers found no sign of transmission to the infant—and no evidence of the virus in amniotic fluid or breast milk.
  • The babies were born healthy and the mothers recovered from the illness.
  • What should expectant mothers do if they have any questions or concerns?
  • Talk with your obstetrical provider.

Sponsored by Spectrum Health.

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