Bonnie Lee is about five months months pregnant.
“I’ve been wanting this pregnancy for a long time, so what it means to me is everything,” Lee said.
Bonnie said she’s been home-quarantining for a few weeks now. But she still worries about her health and her baby’s.
“I think any woman who’s been pregnant will tell you that it’s an extremely, anxiety-ridden process throughout, physically and emotionally. And then add what I guess they’re now calling a global pandemic to the mix,” she said.
Dr. Rashmi Rao said there’s no data to suggest pregnant women are more susceptible to coronavirus.
“I think it’s fair to say that everyone is concerned,” Rao said.
For women who do contract COVID-19, she said there’s limited data about the risk to an unborn child. But she’s optimistic.
“When you extrapolate from prior viral epidemics, I would say the data is reassuring. Because in other prior viral epidemics, there has not been shown to be an increased risk of fetal loss or birth defects,” Dr. Rao said.
After birth, Rao said infected mothers should keep a distance from their newborns, wearing gloves and surgical masks.
She said breast milk is safe, but should be expressed for someone else to feed the infant.
But what has many moms-to-be worried is the delivery.
“Two months from now if this is still going on, are hospitals going to be overwhelmed by coronavirus and not have the space or capability for other concerns, like deliveries?" Lee asked.
Dr. Rao said hospitals are implementing rigorous “infection prevention” protocols. She said expectant mothers should feel safe. She says it’s not the time to consider a home birth.
“If there are rigorous protection programs in place, we really believe it’s safe for women to deliver babies in the hospital. In general, birthing at home is not a suggested alternative,” Dr. Rao said.
Some New York hospitals are banning partners from labor and delivery. The NBCLA I-Team called several hospitals in Southern California. There’s no ban yet, but as one hospital said: “There are changes daily.”
As for Lee, she said she remains hopeful, and is counting the days until her baby girl joins her small family.
“Adding to this whole level of stress and unnecessary burdens, emotionally and physically, is really challenging. But it doesn’t overshadow the overall excitement and next chapter of life we’re both looking forward to,” she said.