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Dr. Manny Alvarez, a Fox News contributor and chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, shares advice on extra precautions you can take if you’re pregnant during the COVID-19 outbreak.

What should I be doing to prepare to have a baby during this COVID pandemic?

The first thing that couples should think about during this pandemic as they get ready to have a baby is PREPARENESS, PREPARENESS, PREPARENESS! Keep the lines of communication open with your obstetrical provider and know what their visitation policies look like. Make sure that you understand what tests or ultrasounds need to be made since a lot of these things are time sensitive and require the proper gestational age to be coordinated with the tests. Examples are genetic testing, diabetic screening, anatomy ultrasound and fetal surveillance tests. Many providers are currently using telemedicine, which is a very good way to have a thorough conversation with your provider regarding issues of any complaints of headaches, shortness of breath and fetal movement.

How do I protect myself against COVID-19 if I’m pregnant?

The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to follow the same general guidelines that we have been giving to all patients.  Cover your face with a mask, wash your hands, keep your social distance and keep away from any suspected person who might be presumed COVID-19 positive. It is also very important to recognize that many pregnant patients who have had COVID-19 tend to recover well, but those patients who are COVID-19 positive and are having respiratory issues must immediately contact their obstetrical providers and report to the hospital for further evaluation. Finally, there is no present evidence that there is any fetal transmission of the COVID-19 virus during pregnancy. The few cases of neonatal exposure seem to have come after the birth of the child.

What should I know about my hospital stay if I am going into labor?

Keep yourself informed of the current policies being implemented in the hospital in which you are delivering the baby. Many of these policies change depending on the state of affairs and the size and acuity of your hospital. For the most part, hospitals allow you to bring a visitor to stay with you. Please remember that you will be asked to wear a mask as well as you companion. Some hospitals are screening for COVID-19 while other hospitals are screening for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is important to be honest with your health providers as we want to keep the staff and yourself safe. Delivery will progress as normal depending on whether you have a vaginal delivery or Cesarean section, and the postpartum phase should be an enjoyable one with your little one next to you. Patients who are COVID-19 positive might be isolated from their infants until the acute phase of the infection is over. Once you take you newborn home, please remember to follow the same guideless as recommended to minimize your exposure to COVID-19.