Coronavirus & Pregnancy

COVID-19 is injecting stress and uncertainty to a time already filled with those emotions: Pregnancy. Fortunately, what limited studies are available paint a somewhat reassuring picture. NBC's Sarah Dallof reports.

(NBC News) — The birth of Ashley Hewitt’s second daughter was much different than her first.

Carsyn June arrived early, in the midst of a pandemic, and no one but Ashley’s husband can visit.

“It is disappointing, but I understand the importance from a medical standpoint that these restrictions are in place for a reason,” she says.

Hospitals nationwide are adopting stricter policies to protect patients and medical staff from COVID-19.

At Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte, laboring moms are allowed one support person and doctors are wearing head to toe protective gear for even routine deliveries.

“We strongly feel that despite these concerns, with all these precautions we have enacted, that delivering in a hospital is still the very safest place to deliver,” says CMC Assistant Professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine Dr. Rebecca Pollack.

There’s no definitive answer if the virus can be transmitted from mother to fetus.

One study from China found out of 33 infants born to infected women, three tested positive.

Pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. David Kimberlin believes it’s more likely transmission occurred during or right after birth than during pregnancy.

“Of the three babies who acquired it, they did well and they cleared the virus within six or seven days from the baby’s body,” he says. “So I think that there is reassurance to be given that the likelihood of transmission probably is not high.”

For now the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending separating moms who test positive from their newborns.

“Those few days can make a huge difference in the baby’s life over time,” Dr. Kimberlin says.

That guidance could change as doctors learn more.

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