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OBGYNs prepare for baby deliveries during COVID-19 outbreak: What should pregnant mothers know?

Physicians clarify what data shows relating to pregnant mothers and the coronavirus.

AUSTIN, Texas — Delivering babies is already hard enough, but now doctors have to add in coronavirus precautions. Dr. Melanie Collins is an OBGYN for Renaissance Women's Group and she said data relating to pregnant mothers and COVID-19 is limited.

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"From the limited data that we have, pregnant women don't seem to fare any worse than other people with the coronavirus," said Dr. Collins. "The majority of the data is from China, which experienced this first, but pregnant women who were in their second or third trimesters that got sick didn't seem to do any worse than anybody else. So, that's good news."

She said it doesn't seem to increase the chances pregnant women might need a C-section or that they might have problems with their pregnancy. Collins also said there's no data suggesting there's any kind of transmission from a mom who's sick to her baby. 

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But some pregnant mothers still have concerns.

"This is just like another another thing that you're adding to your pregnancy brain," said Rachel McKibbin. "It feels like everyone's on edge, which, [with] pregnancy alone or giving birth, there's so many unknowns." 

McKibbin has three kids and she knows how to plan for a newborn, but the coronavirus outbreak changed everything. 

Credit: Mari Salazar

"What [will] this look like when we go to the hospital? Like, will my husband actually be able to be there? I don't know," said McKibbin. "You can't have visitors. You only have one person ... with you in the labor and delivery room."

McKibbin is getting used to the idea her kids won't be able to meet the baby once she's born. She said one of the hardest parts of going through this outbreak is that she usually has people coming over to help her and her family, but that's not an option anymore.

"I usually have my parents over here helping me or a friend over to keep my other kids busy, or someone's coming over to bring in groceries or to help me out," said McKibbin. "I can't do that right now. Like, I really am trying to isolate my family and myself as much as humanly possible, and that's super scary to go through this pregnancy and this very last leg of your pregnancy alone."

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"Pregnancy is obviously a time where mothers are at heightened concern for both themselves and their babies," said Collins. "We're trying to keep people at home as much as we can and to limit the exposure of the people that need to come to the office from other patients."

Collins said they've told patients if they're not having any problems to postpone routine checkups. Her office has also moved some appointments to telemedicine. 

"We're calling every one of our patients who is scheduled for a visit in the office ahead of time to make sure that they don't have any respiratory symptoms or fever, because if they do, we need to know about that," said Collins. "It's not that we wouldn't see those people because we don't want to send everybody to the emergency room either. We bring them in at a different entrance."

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The CDC has more guidelines about what doctors should do with confirmed COVID-19 patients who are pregnant on its website

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