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What Pregnant Women Should Know about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dr. Neil Silverman, clinical professor of OB/GYN in the division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at UCLA Health, offers tips for pregnant women on how to stay healthy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Take the same precautions as everyone else.

In general, pregnant women are at higher risk for developing complications from some viral respiratory infections because their immune defenses are lowered during pregnancy. However, there is no reason for pregnant women, specifically, to be panicked. They should continue to follow the current recommended preventive actions to avoid infection, such as washing hands often and avoiding contact with people who are sick, especially if those people have traveled to areas with a coronavirus outbreak.

It’s not necessary for pregnant women to wear a mask if they are otherwise feeling well, to stay indoors or to avoid public spaces.

Don’t get on a plane.

Non-essential travel isn’t recommended for the general population, including pregnant women. The risk with air travel, in particular, has to do with duration of exposure. If you’re seated next to someone who is coughing, you likely can’t move seats and you can’t get off of the plane.

There’s very little social separation on a plane. Respiratory droplets containing pathogens can travel up to six feet when a sick person coughs or sneezes. It’s much more difficult to maintain that distance with air travel, in contrast to other forms of public transit. There’s also the potential for being involved in a quarantine situation while traveling or when returning home.  

Here’s what to do if you’re experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms.

At this time, having mild respiratory symptoms (cough, fever, etc.) alone wouldn’t be a reason to be overly concerned about having coronavirus or warrant a need to get tested for it. However, if a pregnant woman develops these symptoms and has also has been in contact with people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus infection or traveled to areas where coronavirus outbreaks have occurred, they should contact their health provider for further guidance.


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