I’m a perinatologist, or high-risk OB specialist, based in Fort Worth, Texas.
Today’s video is an update on COVID-19 and pregnancy. Our COVID task force meets every few days because recommendations are changing almost daily. Some of the common questions are who has to wear a mask, what kind of mask, what type of PPE (personal protective equipment) gear do we have to wear, and how often can we reuse PPE gear?
Over the last month or two, I have seen a number of pregnant and postpartum patients with COVID-19. I have a little bit better sense of how this pandemic is affecting our pregnant patients now. For the most part, the pregnant patients that I have seen have been mild to moderately ill.
That means they get sick, they feel bad, then they get better, and they and their babies do just fine.
So here’s an update from the front lines.
We have more widespread testing
One improvement is that now we have more widespread testing. This is helpful so we can test our pregnant patients who are coming in to have their babies. We can know if we need to isolate them or if we need to separate them from their babies for a little bit for everybody’s safety. We still have policies in place where one visitor, that’s dad usually, can come to labor and delivery with mom during labor.
We’re not letting anybody back for C-sections. So it’s been kind of a lonely, stressful experience for our pregnant moms. But I feel like my fellow healthcare workers are really stepping up and giving patients not only the great medical care that they deserve, but the compassion and the support that they need at this time in their lives.
Better treatment protocols
In addition to more widespread testing, we have a little bit better treatment. If you’re mild to moderately ill, you’re mostly not going to require anything except supportive care. We have labs that help tell us who may become sicker and who may be on the path to a quicker recovery.
There are a lot of experimental therapies that are being used, like hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, and various other antiviral medications. Some of them seem to work well, others not so well. And it varies a lot from person to person. In many ways, this is a very unpredictable virus and it behaves in ways that we really haven’t seen before.
Every day I go to work, but I’m a little apprehensive. Am I going to get sick? Am I going to bring something bad home to my family?
The spread is slowing because of your efforts
Rest assured we’re going to use the most evidence-based treatment that we can to get you better. It seems as though the spread may be slowing a little bit. Part of that is based on evidence, and maybe part is just wishful thinking. We are so ready to get out of doors. We’re ready to take off our masks. We’re ready to hug our loved ones and travel again and eat in restaurants.
So keep doing what you’re doing. Stay home, stay safe. We’re not done yet. A big thank you to all the healthcare workers who are out there on the front lines every day.
A special thank you
I don’t want to forget the people who are so under-appreciated, people who are working in the grocery stores, people who are delivering things, all our essential workers. You don’t get much glory, but you’ve got my thanks, sincere, heartfelt thanks. You are on the front lines as much as we are and I really appreciate everything you’re doing.
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