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COVID-19 risks and changes for pregnant women

Since the spread of the virus, pregnant mothers have raised concerns over their health and what will happen when it comes time to deliver their baby.

PHOENIX — COVID-19 is creating some concerns for pregnant women, not only from a health standpoint, but what will happen when it comes time to deliver their baby.

Catherine Bryant and her husband are getting ready for their son’s August due date, but COVID-19 has interrupted. She’s now working from home and taking extra precautions.

“I’m very happy I’m giving birth later, but mentally, there’s always the risk of getting sick, but I’m trying not to worry about that too much,” Bryant said.

Many moms to be are now having to go to appointments, ultrasounds, and scans alone since COVID-19’s spread in order to minimize the number of people in a room.

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"This is an unprecedented pandemic. A highly contagious infection,” Dr. Julie Kwatra said.

Kwatra is an OB/GYN. She said right now, pregnant women do not appear to be any more vulnerable to COVID-19 than a woman the same age who’s not pregnant.

“The obstetricians still feel like pregnant women might be slightly more at risk because we do consider pregnant women to be immunocompromised,” Kwatra said.

Kwatra said hospitals in the Valley are still allowing one person to be with a woman during labor and delivery, but the future of the virus could change that.

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“We cannot promise that in the next few weeks that guideline is going to change and women will not be allowed any visitors. We just don’t know,” Kwatra said.

While data is limited, Kwatra said it does not appear as though COVID-19 can be transmitted to a baby during birth.

But she added protocols at this point are having the baby be separated from a mom who is positive for the virus to try and keep the newborn from being infected.

Kwatra said she expects as the virus continues to run its course in Arizona and the United States, protocols will fluctuate.

“My advice changes by the day as the situation is very fluid,” Kwatra said. “Our number one priority, of course, is to keep our patients safe.”

Right now, Kwatra said pregnant women, like everyone, need to be washing their hands, practicing social distancing, and cleaning commonly used surfaces. She isn’t recommending anything above those guidelines right now.

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