COVID-19 and Pregnancy
Pregnant women do not appear to be at higher likelihood to acquire the coronavirus than non-pregnant women, but the disease course of COVID-19 may be more severe. For this reason, take extra care in preventing virus exposure. More than 50% of women who get ill from the coronavirus got it from someone who did not have symptoms at the time. You have to do more than just “avoid sick people”!
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please get tested. We do not test in our office. Your primary care provider may do testing in their office. Call the UNC helpline at 888-850-2684 before visiting our office, an urgent care location, hospital, or emergency room. Also, the North Carolina COVID-19 information hotline is 866-462-3821, and is for questions about the virus and for testing locations.
If you do acquire COVID-19, know that 86% will only have mild disease (no shortness of breath) and can remain at home. You should self-isolate until (1) you are fever-free for 72 hours, and (2) it has been 10 days since your first symptoms, or positive test. Notify our office if you have COVID-19. We will have regular telephone contact with you, assessing for worsening of your illness and the need for hospital care. We will also modify your prenatal appointments to accommodate your isolation.
ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE
Should pregnant women get the Covid-19 Vaccine?
Can I breastfeed after the Covid-19 Vaccine?
Will the Covid-19 Vaccine cause infertility?
If I choose not to get the vaccine, will Arbor provide me with a written waiver/exception?
No. It is recommended for pregnant women to receive the vaccine, and there is no medical reason to avoid it. We are glad to provide a statement that confirms you are pregnant and indicated your due date. However, decisions about employability based on vaccination status are between you and your employer.
REX HOSPITAL BIRTH CENTER
The Women’s Center is open and fully staffed for deliveries and postpartum care, and has coronavirus mitigation measures in place.
- ALL Women who are admitted due to labor are tested immediately, with results available in a few hours. Your support person is not tested.
- If you have a scheduled C-Section or Induction-of-Labor, Arbor ObGyn will arrange for you to have nasal swab COVID-19 testing at a UNC testing site a few days prior. We will coordinate a specific appointment for you; walk-in testing is not an option. UNC has nine Respiratory Diagnostic Centers open for this pre-testing:
- Raleigh. UNC Health, 4551 New Bern Ave., Raleigh NC 27610.
- Raleigh. 2605 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh NC 27607. Located across the street from UNC REX Hospital at the corner of Lake Boone Trail and Blue Ridge Road, next to Wellness Pharmacy. Testing is in the back of the building.
- Raleigh. REX Healthcare of Wakefield 11200 Governor Manly Way, Raleigh NC 27614. Located behind the Harris Teeter. Drive around the left side of the building to tent.
- Cary. REX Healthcare of Cary, 1515 SW Cary Parkway, Cary NC 27511. Located at the corner of Cary Parkway and Lake Pine Drive.
- Chapel Hill. 102 Mason Farm Rd, Chapel Hill NC 27514. Located at the UNC Ambulatory Surgery Center.
- Clayton. 37 Pineville Blvd., Clayton NC 27527. Located at Flowers Crossroads in UNC Health building to the left of the Harris Teeter shopping center.
- Kinston. 204 Airport Rd., Kinston NC 28504.
- Eden. 518 S. Van Buren Rd., Eden NC 27288. Located next to UNC Rockingham Healthcare, in the only two story building.
- Siler City. 163 Medical Park Drive, Siler City, NC 27344. Located in the two story brick building directly behind Chatham Hospital.
- All patients and support persons will be issued a mask and are required to wear a mask over mouth and nose when outside of their room or, when anyone else enters their room. Even if your test is negative, you should wear a mask. The hospital is a high-contact area, and just one unexpected/unintended COVID-19 transmission can cause widespread consequences. Your obstetricians understand that wearing a mask while laboring is a challenge. Speak with us during labor to see what accommodations can be made.
- Due to a community surge of infections, effective 01/18/21, patients will be allowed to have one support person designated through their admission. Patients who have a certified doula will be allowed to have their doula in addition to their one visitor. Doulas are trained to be part of the care team, but will need to show proof of their certification to the L&D Nurse. Your birth partner may only leave the hospital ONCE in every 24 hours .. so bring everything you need!
- Keep in mind that guest restrictions are evolving. You can view UNC Rex’s up-to-date full visitor policy on their website.
PREGNANCY AND THE WORKPLACE
Pregnant women may continue to go to work. The same commonsense community prevention techniques should be use at work as well. We will not recommend disability due to the pregnancy. If you request a letter from us, below is the template that you can expect us to provide to your employer.
___________ is an existing patient of Arbor Obstetrics & Gynecology, and currently pregnant. The CDC defines pregnancy as an underlying health condition that might put her at increased risk for severe illness if she gets a COVID-19 infection. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html
The CDC states that individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness need to take extra precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering this employee’s underlying health condition (pregnancy), it would be preferable to make accommodations to place this employee in an area that minimizes exposure to COVID-19, or if not feasible, allow them to work from home. Reasonable accommodations include: limiting prolonged close contact with others, working in an environment where she/others wear a mask, and access to best sanitation practices. If that is not feasible, then this employee may need to be placed on medical leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FOR PREGNANT HEALTHCARE WORKERS
Our current guidance for pregnant women who are also healthcare workers does not mandate removal from the workplace. Please let us know If you would like us to formalize a letter to your employer with following guidelines:
Adherence to recommended infection prevention and control practices is an important part of protecting all HCP in healthcare settings. Be sure your employer knows you are pregnant before you provide any direct patient care to a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. When possible, and depending on staffing, management should consider limiting your exposure to these patients. This is especially true if you perform procedures with a higher chance of coming into contact with a patient’s respiratory droplets (such as intubation).
If you do provide care to a patient with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, be sure to follow the Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions for all healthcare workers, as outlined by CDC. If you are pregnant and you cared for a patient with COVID-19 without all the recommended precautions in place (for example, no PPE), contact your employer immediately to let them know. Depending on the type of care you are involved in and current staffing needs, your employer may ask you to self-isolate (stay at home) for a period of time, or to monitor yourself for symptoms (such as fever) while continuing to report to work.