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10TV: What Pregnant Women Need to Know About COVID-19

10TV 5P Dr. Melillo 3.23.20

As medical experts continue to research COVID-19, questions about how the virus affects pregnant women are becoming more and more pressing.

Jason Melillo, MD, OhioHealth director of women’s health, talked with 10TV for a story that aired on March 23 about what women who are expecting need to know to keep themselves and their babies safe.

While pregnant women are typically more susceptible to respiratory viruses like the flu, preliminary data about COVID-19 indicates that pregnant women aren’t at any more risk for contracting the virus than anyone else.

“Even though the data is limited, it doesn’t seem that pregnant women are more adversely affected by COVID-19 than other patients,” Dr. Melillo told 10TV anchor and health reporter Tracy Townsend. “We don’t have enough data to say whether this can cause miscarriages or whether this can cause problems with the baby. As of right now, we haven’t seen any evidence of what we call vertical transmission, which means that the baby can catch it from the mom.”

When it comes to breastfeeding, data has also indicated that so far, COVID-19 has not been found in breastmilk. For moms who are nursing and have symptoms of a fever or cough, Dr. Melillo recommends wearing a mask while you nurse. If you’re still worried, try setting up virtual visit or phone call with your physician.

Remember that it’s still important to limit the number of people you come into contact with, including your physician and other healthcare workers. It’s always best to start first with a phone call before heading in for an in-person visit.