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What Do I Need to Know About Giving Birth During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

The time has finally come and you are ready to give birth to your little one! Though the COVID-19 pandemic is adding uncertainty to all our lives, you have the support of your healthcare provider, your Community Health Worker (CHW) and the entire WIN Network: Detroit family as you prepare to give birth. Check out some of the information below and talk with your CHW or healthcare provider if you have any other questions. You can do this!

Am I at a higher risk of getting COVID-19 because I am pregnant?

With the information we have now, no. However, when you are pregnant, you may be more likely to get sicker from other viruses and illnesses. It is important to practice healthy habits when you are pregnant, like:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise (talk to your provider about how to do this safely)
  • Get enough sleep
  • Attend all appointments and group prenatal care sessions with your healthcare provider before and after you give birth

During this time, it is also important to:

  • Wear a mask in public
  • Practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others when you leave your home)
  • Avoid getting together with people who are not in your immediate household, whenever possible

Who will be able to come into the delivery room with me?

This depends on where you are giving birth. Most hospitals or birthing centers will allow at least one support person. This person will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. After you give birth, the hospital will likely limit visitors to keep you and your baby safe. Talk to your healthcare provider or call the hospital or birth center to find out their policy. Here are some of the policies of local Detroit hospitals:

Should I change my labor and delivery plan?

Most likely, no. COVID-19 will probably not change the timing or method (vaginal birth or C-section) that you have planned for. Talk to your healthcare provider or CHW if you have any questions or concerns.

Will my baby be separated from me after birth?

If you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, your healthcare team will do what’s best to keep you and your baby safe. Your baby might stay in a nursery or isolation room or stay in your room but at a safe distance. If you do not have COVID-19, staying with your baby after birth is best, as it promotes bonding and may help with breastfeeding.

If you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, you will need to wash your hands regularly and wear PPE (mask, gloves, gown, etc.) when caring for your baby.

 

Is it still safe to breastfeed?

As of now, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through breast milk. Breastfeeding can be risky if you have COVID-19 because you will be breathing close to your baby during feeding, making it possible for the baby to get infected. If you have or might have COVID-19, your healthcare team will work with you to find the safest way to feed your baby. If you decide to breastfeed, you will need to wash your hands before feeding and wear a facemask.

Should my infant or child under the age of two wear a mask or plastic face shield?

No. Masks or face shields could increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or make it hard for your baby to breathe. The best way to protect a newborn or young child from getting COVID-19 is to avoid large gatherings and make sure every older child and adult around them wears a mask. Make sure anyone who is caring for your baby washes their hands, wears a mask, and does not have any COVID-19 symptoms.

What should I do if I think my newborn has COVID-19?

If you or your newborn have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. If you are sick, your healthcare provider may suggest that you separate from your child for a short time to decrease the risk of spreading the virus to them. If anyone in your home or anyone you have been around tests positive, call your healthcare provider and watch your newborn for symptoms.

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