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Nearly 80 percent of Americans who participated in a national survey said they would be concerned if they or someone they knew was considering having a baby or was pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly half saying they would be concerned about visiting a public place while pregnant or after the child is born.
The survey, conducted by The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, involved more than 2,000 participants. It revealed that despite additional steps being taken by doctors, such as limiting appointments and adding personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure patient safety, the COVID-19 pandemic is still raising concerns that previously may not have been an issue for pregnant women.
The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic as well as the plethora of information available via the internet may also be adding to the worry, one of the doctors involved in the survey said.
“We always encourage pregnant women to trust websites that are reliable and that are vouched by medical professionals as being accurate and informative,” Dr. Jonathan Schaffir, OB/GYN at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said.
Schaffir said that pregnant women should be taking the same precautions while out in public that the general public is practicing, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing a face mask that does not interfere with additional medical conditions or restrict airflow.
“Partners should take the same precautions as well,” Schaffir told Fox News, adding that the same applies for siblings who are in the household.
Should a sibling become sick, as with any other illness, they should “steer clear of the baby if they are sick or have symptoms of an infection,” Schaffir said.
He added that it’s also a good idea for parents to disinfect and clean the household before bringing the baby home from the hospital.
Once the baby does arrive, Schaffir said that there is no need to avoid being outdoors as long as the newborn is properly dressed for the weather and kept away from other people, such as taking a walk with the infant in a stroller when the weather is nice.
However, when it comes to venturing out in public, Dr. Dane Snyder, a section chief in the division of primary care pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said that parents should stay home with the newborn unless “absolutely necessary.”
“Having a newborn is an exciting time, but we recommend limiting visitors if they do not live in the same household,” he told Fox News. “If you must leave the house, to take your newborn to their medical provider, for example, call your doctor’s office and ask for any special instructions.”
Snyder also advised maintaining proper distancing and avoiding crowds.
“You can drape a light blanket over your newborn’s car seat and handle, but never put a covering, such as a blanket or a mask, directly over your baby’s face,” he said.
And regarding introducing the newborn to extended family members, Schaffir advises sticking to meet-and-greets conducted behind the safety of a window.
“Social distancing during the pandemic involves remaining apart from those outside of the immediate family,” he said. “The safest route to introduce your newborn to family and friends is by video or through the window.