SAN ANTONIO – Sarah Green was surprised when she learned she was pregnant with her fourth child, but she was not expecting she would also test positive for COVID-19.
“We actually found out we had corona and a baby coming in the same day,” said Green.
Green said she and her husband had tested positive after they began to experience symptoms.
The family of five went into self-isolation, but Green said the first few days were difficult.
“Is my body tender from pregnancy or am I having body aches from COVID?” Green said.
The couple’s three young children were not tested but Green believed they had the virus. The family has recovered and they are preparing for the newest addition to their family.
“It was a hands-down, no brainer that we were going to do another home birth,” Green said.
Nikki McIver-Brown is a certified nurse mid-wife and helped Green deliver her youngest daughter two years ago. However, she said things have drastically changed.
“We just don’t know what can happen. It may be nothing,” said McIver-Brown.
McIver-Brown said not enough is known about expecting mothers and COVID-19. She said her patients prefer an intimate setting but plans could change if they experience complications from the virus.
“If they were having any shortness of breath, any respiratory distress, anything wrong with the baby that would warrant a transfer to the hospital,” she said.
Dr. Patrick Ramsey is the Chief Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine with University Health System and UT Health San Antonio. Dr. Ramsey released this statement regarding the coronavirus and women who are pregnant:
“We understand the concerns expecting moms have about giving birth in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is important that they not change their maternal care plans without closely consulting their obstetric provider.
If a woman has decided on a delivery plan, she should not alter that plan because of COVID-19 fears, regardless of whether the plan is with a midwife or at a hospital. The relationship you have developed with your delivery team is important. Making changes in the late stages of pregnancy would mean you will be delivering a baby with the help of a team you do not know, possibly in a setting that is unfamiliar, and in a location that may not have all the resources you need in the event of complications.
We want to assure women that hospitals months ago implemented precautions to ensure very safe environments for having a baby. Acquiring COVID-19 infection from delivery at a hospital is highly unlikely because of the extensive screening protocols in place: uniform masking of providers, patients and staff; temperature checks and COVID-19 screening of symptoms for all individuals on entrance to the facility; and isolation of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
Health care facilities are probably safer places than being out in public and other settings where these safety practices may not be rigorously followed. Families who are expecting a child should make sure that whatever setting they chose for delivery has taken those same precautions
Women should also consider the resources that will be readily available if there are complications during delivery. The State of Texas has designated University Hospital as a Level IV Maternal Care Center, one of a select few in the state. University Hospital has specially trained teams and equipment available to care for women with high-risk pregnancies and can respond quickly and expertly if problems arise.
Green is looking forward to her birth at home and hopes her experience with COVID-19 will help other expecting mothers.
“If you can encourage someone and give someone else hope, I think that’s more important,” she said.