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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Jun. 18, 2020 3 months ago

AdventHealth doctor says giving birth at the hospital is safe during COVID-19 pandemic

AdventHealth perinatologist said transmitting COVID-19 to a newborn is unlikely.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

COVID-19 is "incredibly hard" to transmit to infants, and the chance of a woman transmitting the disease to her newborn baby is less than 1%, said Dr. Rachel Humphrey, during AdventHealth's COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, June 18.

Humphrey, a perinatologist, said that in the few studies where doctors were able to trace transmission in newborns, the babes were asymptomatic. She reassured expectant mothers that it is safe to give birth in a hospital at this time and that women should have no fear. 

“We’re so careful in the hospital, and this is what I love about working at AdventHealth," Humphrey said. "They’re protecting all of the staff and all of the patients that are coming through.”

One of her patients was considering a home birth, Humphrey shared, stating that was not a good idea as home birth is associated with a higher mortality rate for the baby. Also, up to 5% of babies born to mother who've previously had a child and up to 9% of babies born to first-time mothers need attention of a neonatologist, Humphrey said. 

What if a pregnant women suspects she has COVID-19? Humphrey said she should get tested, and if she does get a positive result, she shouldn't worry. 

“Over 85% of our pregnant moms that get COVID-19 actually have no symptoms, or very mild symptoms," Humphrey said. "There’s no extra medicine you have to take, just eat well, think happy thoughts, make sure to get the right amount of sleep.”

What she should do is tell her doctors in case visits need to be postponed to after the 10-day quarantine period. 

“As hard as COVID-19 is, we are so lucky," Humphrey said. "The last two recent epidemics that I can think of — Zika and H1N1 — were worse for pregnant moms. This is no different for pregnant moms.”

With coronavirus cases currently on the rise — the Department of Health having reported over 11,000 new cases in Florida from June 12-16 — Dr. Scott Brady, senior vice president of ambulatory services for the AdventHealth Central Florida division, said their hospitals are keeping a daily track of personal protective equipment, ventilators and the number of ICU beds. 

So far, they continue to have a good supply, he reassured.

“We believe we’re prepared for this," Brady said. "The folks that are coming in seem to be a little less sick than they did two months ago. We’re still watching that. Many of them are going to a non-ICU bed and we hope that continues.”

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