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Wear The Gown: Expectant mothers, newborns and the coronavirus

Dr. Patrick Ramsey from University Health System answers your questions.

SAN ANTONIO — Moms-to-be are worried about the impact the coronavirus could have on their unborn child. Answering viewers' questions is Dr. Patrick Ramsey, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at the University Health System and the director of transports and outreach at UT Health San Antonio.

Are pregnant women testing positive for coronavirus more susceptible to death than those who are not pregnant? 

"Some of the early evidence we’ve learned from China the World Health Organization is that pregnant women do not appear to have a higher mortality rate versus women who are not pregnant."

If a woman has coronavirus, even if she doesn't know it, can it be passed on to the unborn baby? 

"Based on early evidence, we don't think it is what you call vertically-transmitted from the mom to the baby during pregnancy, or right at the time of delivery."

If a woman tests positive for the coronavirus will she be separated from her baby when she delivers? 

"Current guidelines recommend that if (the) mom is COVID-19 positive at the time of birth, mom and the baby are supposed to be separated. Mom can continue to pump for her breastmilk, but I recommend having an alternative family member provide the feeding."

If a mother is positive with the virus can it be passed on through breastmilk?

"Because mom has respiratory virus particles floating around and maybe on her skin, by using good hygiene, but as far as the breastmilk having virus in it from mom, we don't think that's likely right now."

One woman wrote, "I'm on my third trimester of pregnancy and my babies lungs are not developing correctly. Does that put the baby and myself at greater risk for contracting the virus?"

"We know that preterm babies can obviously have some respiratory challenges when they are born and sometimes they need to breathing assistance and we want to make sure the baby doesn't have any of those. So delivering the baby as late as possible safely is the right option."

For more information about family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Wear The Gown stories here