In times of uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, many expectant mothers are facing unforeseen challenges.
Lack of knowledge around and educated guesswork around the coronavirus behalf of doctors can be unsettling — especially when dealing with the lives of newborn babies.
Around Reston, OBGYN offices such as the Virginia Women’s Health Associates in Reston are changing tactics to help new mothers and pregnant women stay safe by offering more online resources and flexible appointment dates for women who are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
The Virginia Women’s Health Associates are even offering online appointments through a new portal system.
For everyday care, local OBGYN offices are taking extra preventative measures to help patients respect social distancing measures and ensure the health of their patients.
Because of the lack of research doctors, such as Amy Banulis, a certified doctor out of Falls Church who published a professional article in the Northern Virginia Magazine, are recommending that expectant mothers be sure to practice self-isolation and be sure to take care of themselves not only physically but mentally as well.
“While there is currently no evidence that you are more likely than anyone else to be infected with COVID-19, you may be at higher risk of developing a severe case,” Banulis wrote. A similar statement can be found online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When it comes to breastfeeding and other concerns, the CDC said breast milk usually provides protection against infection and has not been shown to transmit COVID-19 in “limited studies.”
A local mom in Falls Church said that she took extra precautions leading up to her delivery date.
“I just feel the research out there is limited. I’m skeptical and don’t want to take a risk,” Nicole Sud, who recently gave birth to twins at a Virginia Hospital Center, said.
Before her delivery date, Sud said she self-isolated — only leaving the house for doctor appointments and had neighborhood friends help deliver groceries and essentials. She said that her primary care doctor didn’t recommend any additional steps for keeping healthy beyond the CDC’s guidelines for the public.
When Sud was first checked into the hospital, said she doctors gave her one surgical mask and a paper bag to put it in. Surgical gloves that would typically sit by the sink in any doctor’s office had been removed because of thefts, Sud said.
After Sud delivered the twins, she was disappointed because the couple learned the hospital nursery was closed due to COVID-19 concerns.
To ensure that the couple’s two-year-old daughter didn’t catch anything at the hospital and pass it onto the newborns, her pediatrician suggested that the young girl live with Sud’s in-laws for two weeks before returning home.
Upon discharge from the hospital, nurses simply included a COVD-19 packet among other materials typically given to mothers, Sud said.
Photo courtesy Nicole Sud