Category Archives: Baby Your Baby

Exercising while pregnant: why it’s good for you and how to do it safely



All types of women become pregnant, those who have a regular exercise routine, or those who exercise sporadically or not at all. There are also women who have jobs that require a lot of physical activity. That means pregnant women have all types of questions about what kinds of physical activities they engage in.

Jade Elliott spoke with Martie Nightingale, a certified nurse midwife with Intermountain Healthcare, who is also a plant-based endurance athlete and certified yoga instructor, to help answer your questions about exercise during pregnancy.

Why is it helpful to exercise during pregnancy?

Pregnant bodies, just like regular bodies, benefit from movement. And unless your provider has told you not to exercise, it’s healthy to engage in physical activity or movement. If you’re pregnant and new to exercise, find something you enjoy and start slowly. Just walking or simple stretching, like yoga, has tremendous benefits. Exercise shouldn’t create stress, but rather reduce it. The types of exercises most recommended by experts during pregnancy includes walking, swimming, riding a stationary bike and prenatal yoga.

Ideally, pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week like brisk walking, with an hour daily being ideal.

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy include reduced back pain, decreased constipation, reduction in excessive maternal weight gain, postpartum weight loss, improved overall fitness, decreased risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, postpartum depression and anxiety and possible reduction in risk of cesarean delivery. The pregnant body changes quickly over nine months and can place strain on a woman’s self-image. Exercise has been shown to improve mood and self-image, while also assisting to reduce stress.

Research shows women who do exercise during pregnancy typically continue to exercise afterward, so it’s a good habit to form.

How might women need to modify their exercise when they’re pregnant??

Few activities are restricted during pregnancy, but you’ll want to be cautious about participating in contact sports or extreme activities like skydiving, scuba diving or any which increases risk of falls like mountain biking, downhill skiing or horseback riding, especially as pregnancy progresses and balance may become compromised. In general, overly vigorous activity in the third trimester, activities that have a high potential for contact, and activities with a high risk of falling should be avoided.

Some yoga positions are not advisable during pregnancy, so do check with the instructor so they can assist with modifications. After 20 weeks, avoid lying on your back to exercise or standing in one position for long periods.

You can do some crunches, but use caution with abdominal exercises, particularly later in pregnancy and immediately after childbirth as this can cause separation of the abdominal muscles or diastasis recti. Immediately after childbirth, there are some abdominal exercises which are helpful to begin right away. These focus on your breath to help bring in the muscles and strengthen them. Talk to your provider for specific cautions and exercises to avoid.

Any recommendations for target heart rates during pregnancy?

Target heart rate is not used to assess exertion due to wide variation in individual heart rate responses during pregnancy, instead ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) should be used to assess intensity instead of traditional heart rate–based methods.

Where can women go for more information?


Protecting your baby from Group B Strep during pregnancy and childbirth



You might not be aware, but if you’re pregnant, it’s important to be tested for a common bacteria called Group B Strep before delivering your baby. You could have Strep B and not even know it and pass it along to your baby.

jade Elliott spoke with Taylor Hanton, a neonatal nurse practitioner with Intermountain Healthcare, to help us understand why going to your prenatal visits and getting tested for Group B Strep, will help you and your baby stay healthy.

What is Group B Strep?

Group B streptococcus [strep-tuh-KOK-uh s] (also called “group B strep” or simply “GBS”) is a common bacteria. Since these bacteria live in the human genital and gastrointestinal tract, it’s not the same bacteria that causes strep throat, and in adults it usually doesn’t cause illness. When a pregnant mom has Group B Strep it can be dangerous for her newborn because the unborn baby can be exposed to this bacterial environment once mom’s water breaks. For this reason, most healthcare providers and hospitals have adopted a national standard to screen all pregnant women for this bacteria. This ensures the best outcome for your baby.

Why is Group B Strep during pregnancy a concern?

If you have Group B Strep during your pregnancy, there’s a chance you could pass the bacteria on to your baby. The bacteria can live in the rectum and vagina, so a baby can become infected during childbirth. Infection can cause serious, even life-threatening, problems in a newborn, such as lung infections, blood infections, and meningitis (inflammation of the tissues around the brain and spinal cord). That’s another important reason to keep all your prenatal visits and deliver in a hospital.

Group B Strep is common – ask your provider about testing

Studies show about 20 percent (1 out of 5) pregnant women carry the Group B Strep bacteria but have no symptoms. For this reason, it’s recommended that all pregnant women be tested for it late in pregnancy (usually starting at about 36 weeks gestation) to detect this common bacteria, so that your doctor can plan steps to help protect your baby. Testing is sometimes done earlier if preterm delivery is anticipated.

Testing is quick and simple. Your provider will swab your vagina and rectum and send the sample to a lab to be cultured. A positive test result means Group B Strep is present. A mom can test positive for GBS with one pregnancy and negative with a subsequent pregnancy. The culture result can take 1-2 days, so it is important to have this information before mom goes into labor.

If you have Group B Strep, special precautions need to be taken before your baby is born

The most common cause of newborn infection is from GBS bacteria. Based on data from the Utah Department of Health from Jan 2015 – July 2019, the incidence of newborn infection caused by GBS is higher in Utah compared to the national incidence (UT 0.4 cases/1000 live births vs. national incidence of 0.22 cases/1000 live births). Symptoms can be very mild, but if left untreated, it can even cause death in the newborn. Screening all pregnant moms for GBS as well as treating those positive with GBS has significantly reduced the incidence of GBS infection in newborn infants.

Your baby will need special treatment and care in any of these circumstances:

  • You’ve tested positive for Group B Strep
  • You’ve previously had a baby who developed a Group B Strep infection after birth
  • You’ve had a urinary tract infection during pregnancy that was caused by Group B Strep
  • The labor is preterm (less than 37 weeks gestation) and you haven’t had a Group B Strep test
  •  The labor is term and GBS is unknown and risk factors develop during labor

Antibiotics administered during labor

To minimize the risk of passing Group B Strep to your baby, moms who test positive for Group B Strep will be given antibiotics during labor through an IV to help get rid of some of the bacteria. Sometimes extra monitoring and/or treatment may still be indicated for your baby if antibiotics are administered shortly before birth. If you’re planning a C-section delivery, your labor hasn’t begun, and your water hasn’t broken yet, you may not need antibiotics.

Monitoring your baby after birth

After birth, your baby will need to be watched carefully for any signs of Group B Strep disease. Your baby’s physical exam, vital signs and blood pressure will be monitored more frequently and screening labs and/or blood cultures may be needed. Your baby may need antibiotics if there are any concerns for infection.

Some signs of infection include: increased or rapid breathing, needing oxygen, abnormal vital signs such as high or low temperature or increased heart rate), fatigue, disinterest in oral feeding, and decreased urine output. Depending on your baby’s clinical exam and lab results, care can be continued in a well-baby nursery or a Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

Finding out moms are GBS positive in advance makes it more likely mom and baby can remain together after delivery. The overall goal is to treat babies who are at the highest risk of being infected with GBS bacteria, while limiting the exposure of all newborns to unnecessary antibiotics.

For more information go to Intermountain Healthcare.org

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Managing high blood pressure during pregnancy to keep you and your baby safe



High blood pressure is very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control about half of Americans have high blood pressure. And many of them may not know it. That’s why it’s known as the silent killer. If you’re pregnant and have high blood pressure, you need to know you have it, so you can take steps to manage it.

Jade Elliot spoke with Dr. Tania Bodnar an OB/Gyn with Intermountain Healthcare, to help us understand why going to your prenatal visits and checking your blood pressure will help you and your baby stay healthy.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure or hypertension is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high. People with high blood pressure have systolic blood pressure greater than 140 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mm Hg or are taking medication for hypertension.

Can you get high blood pressure for the first time, during pregnancy or is it something you have prior to pregnancy?

It can happen both ways. Some women have chronic high blood pressure which is high blood pressure prior to pregnancy. Some women develop high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Some people have chronic high blood pressure and are already being treated for it by a primary care provider and others don’t know they have it. That’s why it’s important to go to your prenatal visits and have your blood pressure checked. Some women can acquire high blood pressure during pregnancy, especially towards the end of pregnancy. It is important to know if your blood pressure is high and if it’s getting worse, because this could become dangerous for the pregnancy and ultimately the baby.

Technically, a woman is considered to have chronic hypertension if the high blood pressure is diagnosed before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Alternatively, if it is diagnosed after 20 weeks of pregnancy we call this gestational hypertension.

Hypertension in pregnancy in the U.S. is common and increasing

According to the CDC, in the United States, high blood pressure happens in 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies among women ages 20 to 44.3

What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?

  • First pregnancy
  • Young age at first pregnancy
  •  Advanced maternal age
  • Obesity
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol
  • Diabetes
  •  Autoimmune disease
  • Engaging in assistive reproductive technology such as IVF
  • Carrying multiples (like twins or triplets)

But, super-fit, healthy young women can have hypertension.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Many people have no symptoms at all. Worsening hypertension can cause headaches, blurry vision, floaters in the eyes. In severe cases people may experience shortness of breath or chest pain, or abdominal right upper quadrant or epigastric pain.

Identifying whether your symptoms are due to pregnancy, hypertension or COVID-19 can be confusing. Talk to your provider about any concerns.

Why is it important to manage high blood pressure during pregnancy?

  • Complications can be very serious and include:
  • Preeclampsia, when high blood pressure can lead to organ damage in the mother and ultimately cause problems with the baby
  •  Eclampsia, when the mother can have seizures
  • A stroke due to very high blood pressure.
  • Decreased blood flow to the placenta can lead to baby receiving less oxygen and fewer nutrients, causing low birth weight
  •  Sometimes a recommendation is made for a preterm delivery

It’s often during the third trimester when symptoms can get worse and high blood pressure can become preeclampsia, but it can happen before this as well.

Get your high blood pressure checked regularly

If you’re doing some of your prenatal appointments virtually, there are ways to have your blood pressure checked remotely. Talk to your OB or midwife. You may need to do in-person visits more frequently than other patients without high blood pressure.

Is it safe to take high blood pressure medications when you’re pregnant?

Some high blood pressure medications are safe during pregnancy and some are not, so check with your primary care provider and your OB or midwife if you already have high blood pressure. It’s good to talk about it with them before you’re thinking getting pregnant.

If you already had hypertension, before you got pregnant, you provider may need to adjust your medication to something different. If you are taking a medication for your high blood pressure that is not considered safe in pregnancy and this wasn’t changed for you prior to getting pregnant, you may need some closer follow ups and ultrasounds to make sure there was no danger caused to the baby.

Can changing your diet and exercise help hypertension?

Diet and exercise are important for overall health and are somewhat helpful in controlling regular hypertension, but not as helpful at controlling it during pregnancy. It’s recommended however to stay active and eat a well-balanced diet during pregnancy. Medication can be an important way to control high blood pressure.

Further testing for gestational hypertension

If you have high blood pressure when you’re pregnant, blood tests may be done to make sure it’s not progressing. Depending on your diagnosis, additional monitoring may be recommended, including checking on the baby as through non-stress tests, fluid checks or growth scans.

Ultimately, the treatment for hypertension is delivery. In some cases, you may need to deliver your baby early to keep you and your baby safe. Sometimes gestational hypertension doesn’t resolve after delivery and can lead to chronic hypertension, but this does not happen often.

What can happen to the baby if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure during pregnancy?

Since early delivery can occur, babies can be found to be a small birth weight due to the decreased blood flowing through the placenta. Sometimes babies have low platelet counts and low while blood cell counts, and it is usually not treated if babies are not symptomatic. There can be a risk that the lungs are not fully developed if you delivered prematurely. If your obstetrician can anticipate this, we give you a medicine called betamethasone which is a steroid to help accelerate the lung maturity in your baby.

For more information visit:

intermountainhealthcare.org

acog.org

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Developmental milestones your child should reach by 5-years-old



By the time your child is 5-years-old , he or she will want to please friends, will likely to sing and dance and will show more independence.

Jade Elliott spoke with Carrie Martinez, Utah Department of Health, to discuss the important milestones your child should reach by 5-years-old and tools to help parents on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Social and Emotional

  •  Wants to please friends
  •  Wants to be like friends
  • More likely to agree with rules
  •  Likes to sing, dance, and act
  •  Is aware of gender
  •  Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Shows more independence (for example, may visit a next-door neighbor by himself [adult supervision is still needed])
  • Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative
  •  Speaks very clearly
  • Tells a simple story using full sentences
  •  Uses future tense; for example, “Grandma will be here.”
  •  Says name and address

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Counts 10 or more things
  • Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts
  • Can print some letters or numbers
  •  Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes
  • Knows about things used everyday, like money and food

Movement/Physical Development

  • Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
  • Hops; may be able to skip
  •  Can do a somersault
  •  Uses a fork and spoon and sometimes a table knife
  • Can use the toilet on her own
  • Swings and climbs

What do you do if your baby is not meeting these milestones?

Video Examples of a 5-year-old:

Can parents get their baby on back on track on their own, or is this something they need a professional for?

Most of the time, children get the developmental skills they need when they are given opportunities to practice. Parents play a huge role in their child’s development, and often can help their child right away. For example, if your child’s screening showed a delay in language, you help your child right away, just by practicing this area of development.

However, sometimes your child may need professional intervention. In these situations, it’s best to work with your healthcare or childcare provider to get resources or referrals to professional agencies who are trained to help your child reach their developmental milestone needs.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Developmental milestones for 4-year-old children



By the time your child is 4-years- old, he or she will be playing with other children, playing make-believe and tells stories.

Jade Elliott spoke with Carrie Martinez, Utah Department of Health, to discuss the important milestones your child should reach by 4-years- old and tools to help parents on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Social and Emotional

  • Enjoys doing new things
  • Plays “Mom” and “Dad”
  • Is more and more creative with make-believe play
  • Would rather play with other children than by himself
  •  Cooperates with other children
  •  Often can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Talks about what she likes and what she is interested in

Language/Communication

  • Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using “he” and “she”
  • Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the “Wheels on the Bus”
  • Tells stories
  • Can say first and last name

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Names some colors and some numbers
  •  Understands the idea of counting
  • Starts to understand time
  • Remembers parts of a story
  • Understands the idea of “same” and “different”
  •  Draws a person with 2 to 4 body parts
  •  Uses scissors
  •  Starts to copy some capital letters
  • Plays board or card games
  • Tells you what he thinks is going to happen next in a book

Movement/Physical Development

  • Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds
  •  Catches a bounced ball most of the time
  • Pours, cuts with supervision, and mashes own food

What do you do if your baby is not meeting these milestones?

Video examples 4 year old:

Can parents get their baby on back on track on their own, or is this something they need a professional for?

Most of the time, children get the developmental skills they need when they are given opportunities to practice. Parents play a huge role in their child’s development, and often can help their child right away. For example, if your child’s screening showed a delay in language, you help your child right away, just by practicing this area of development.

However, sometimes your child may need professional intervention. In these situations, it’s best to work with your healthcare or childcare provider to get resources or referrals to professional agencies who are trained to help your child reach their developmental milestone needs.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Developmental milestones for 3-year-old children



By the time your baby is 3-years-old, he or she should be able to do a variety of new things such as dressing themselves and carrying on a simple conversation.

Jade Elliott spoke with Carrie Martinez, Utah Department of Health, to discuss the important milestones your child should reach by 3-years-old and tools to help parents on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Download & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Want to listen on another platform? Click here.

Social and Emotional

  • Copies adults and friends
  •  Shows affection for friends without prompting
  •  Takes turns in games
  • Shows concern for crying friend
  • Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers”
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Separates easily from mom and dad
  •  May get upset with major changes in routine
  •  Dresses and undresses self

Language/Communication

  •  Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
  • Can name most familiar things
  • Understands words like “in,” “on,” and “under”
  • Says first name, age, and sex
  •  Names a friend
  •  Says words like “I,” “me,” “we,” and “you” and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats)
  • Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time
  •  Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Can work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts
  •  Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
  •  Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
  • Understands what “two” means
  • Copies a circle with pencil or crayon
  •  Turns book pages one at a time
  •  Builds towers of more than 6 blocks
  •  Screws and unscrews jar lids or turns door handle

Movement/Physical Development

  •  Climbs well
  •  Runs easily
  • Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)
  •  Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step

What do you do if your baby is not meeting these milestones?

Video Examples 3 year old:

Can parents get their baby on back on track on their own, or is this something they need a professional for?

Most of the time, children get the developmental skills they need when they are given opportunities to practice. Parents play a huge role in their child’s development, and often can help their child right away. For example, if your child’s screening showed a delay in language, you help your child right away, just by practicing this area of development.

However, sometimes your child may need professional intervention. In these situations, it’s best to work with your healthcare or childcare provider to get resources or referrals to professional agencies who are trained to help your child reach their developmental milestone needs.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Developmental milestones for 24 month old children



By the time your baby is 24 months old, he or she should be showing more independence and saying basic sentences.

Jade Elliott spoke with Carrie Martinez, Utah Department of Health, to discuss the important milestones your child should reach by 24 months old and tools to help parents on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Download & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Want to listen on another platform? Click here.

Social and Emotional

  • Copies others, especially adults and older children
  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows more and more independence
  •  Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games

Language/Communication

  • Points to things or pictures when they are named
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
  • Follows simple instructions
  •  Repeats words overheard in conversation
  • Points to things in a book

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  •  Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  •  Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books
  • Plays simple make-believe games
  •  Builds towers of 4 or more blocks
  • Might use one hand more than the other
  • Follows a two-step instruction such as “Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”
  •  Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog

Movement/Physical Development

  •  Stands on tiptoe
  • Kicks a ball
  • Begins to run
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Makes or copies straight lines and circle

What do you do if your baby is not meeting these milestones?

Video examples 24 months:

Can parents get their baby on back on track on their own, or is this something they need a professional for?

Most of the time, children get the developmental skills they need when they are given opportunities to practice. Parents play a huge role in their child’s development, and often can help their child right away. For example, if your child’s screening showed a delay in language, you help your child right away, just by practicing this area of development.

However, sometimes your child may need professional intervention. In these situations, it’s best to work with your healthcare or childcare provider to get resources or referrals to professional agencies who are trained to help your child reach their developmental milestone needs.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


18 month old developmental milestones



By the time your baby is 18 months old, he or she should be able to do a variety of new things such as walking and use a spoon.

Jade Elliott spoke with Carrie Martinez, Utah Department of Health, to discuss the important milestones your child should reach by 18 months old and tools to help parents on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Download & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Want to listen on another platform? Click here.

Social and Emotional

  • Likes to hand things to others as play
  • May have temper tantrums
  • May be afraid of strangers
  •  Shows affection to familiar people
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
  •  May cling to caregivers in new situations
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Explores alone but with parent close by

Language/Communication

  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what he wants

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  •  Knows what ordinary things are for; for example, telephone, brush, spoon
  • Points to get the attention of others
  • Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed
  • Points to one body part
  • Scribbles on his own
  • Can follow 1-step verbal commands without any gestures; for example, sits when you say “sit down”

Movement/Physical Development

  • Walks alone
  • May walk up steps and run
  •  Pulls toys while walking
  • Can help undress herself
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Eats with a spoon

What do you do if your baby is not meeting these milestones?

Video Resources for 18 months:

Can parents get their baby on back on track on their own, or is this something they need a professional for?

Most of the time, children get the developmental skills they need when they are given opportunities to practice. Parents play a huge role in their child’s development, and often can help their child right away. For example, if your child’s screening showed a delay in language, you help your child right away, just by practicing this area of development.

However, sometimes your child may need professional intervention. In these situations, it’s best to work with your healthcare or childcare provider to get resources or referrals to professional agencies who are trained to help your child reach their developmental milestone needs.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


COVID-19 and pregnancy



COVID-19 is a real threat to anybody, including pregnant women. Pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and death, compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, pregnant women with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks).

Jade Elliott spoke with Sean Esplin, MD, Sr. Medical Director, Women’s Health, Intermountain Healthcare, to discuss COVID-19 and how it impacts pregnant women on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Download & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Want to listen on another platform? Click here.

What is the best way to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19?

Expectant mothers should follow CDC guidelines around mask wearing, social gathering and hand hygiene.

1. Limit interactions with people who might have been exposed to or who might be infected with COVID-19, including people within your household, as much as possible.

2. Take steps to prevent getting COVID-19 when you do interact with others.

3. Wear a mask, especially when you cannot keep distance from other people. Avoid others who are not wearing masks or ask others around you to wear a mask.

4. Stay at least 6 feet away from others outside your household.

5. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

6. Avoid activities where taking these steps might be difficult.

Why can it be difficult for pregnant women to distinguish between COVID-19 symptoms and pregnancy symptoms?

Pregnant women might confuse COVID-19 symptoms with the more traditional symptoms experienced during pregnancy.

People can have COVID-19 and actually be pretty sick and not know it. They can be unaware of how short of breath they actually are, or how low their oxygen levels are. During pregnancy, it’s really important to keep those oxygen levels high because if mom’s oxygen is low, then the baby’s oxygen level is even lower.

What risks are there for pregnant women if they get COVID-19?

Those with coronavirus are at higher risk for blood clots; so too are pregnant women. That’s why medication is now used to prevent blood clots in pregnant women.

Can COVID-19 affect your unborn baby?

Although the virus doesn’t cross the placenta, and get to the baby, it can get to the interface between the placenta and the lining of the uterus, where it can cause some changes in the blood vessels that changes how much oxygen and food and fluid are getting to the baby across the placenta. It can make it so that the placenta doesn’t really work as well in some women. It can age the placenta. Which may mean some pregnant women with COVID-19 may need to deliver their baby early.

What if I’m pregnant and get exposed to someone with COVID-19?

Get tested. Intermountain Healthcare recommends you get tested seven days after exposure. If someone you live with has COVID-19 have them isolate in a certain area of your home and use a separate bathroom if possible. Wear a mask, social distance and practice good hand hygiene and/or wear gloves when caring for them or handling their dishes or laundry. Have the sick person clean the areas they are using if they are well enough to do so.

What if I have COVID-19 when it’s time to deliver my baby?

Prior to giving birth, Intermountain asks that our patients are tested for COVID-19. This can be done a few days before your due date. Or if you go into labor early or need to be induced early, we can do a rapid COVID-19 test when you arrive at the hospital.

Our hospitals and labor and delivery caregivers are prepared to care for you if you are COVID-19 positive and will help inform you about special precautions that are taken about wearing a mask or personal protective equipment.

What if I have COVID-19 and want to nurse my baby?

Current evidence suggests that breast milk is not likely to spread the virus to babies. You and your healthcare provider can help decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding. Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most babies.

If you have COVID-19 and choose to breastfeed follow these guidelines:

  • Wash your hands before breastfeeding
  •  Wear a mask while breastfeeding and whenever you are within six feet of your baby.

If you have COVID-19 and choose to express breast milk

  •  Use your own breast pump, if possible.
  • Wear a mask during expression.
  •  Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching any pump or bottle parts, and before expressing breast milk.
  •  Follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. Clean all parts of the pump that come into contact with breast milk.
  •  Consider having a healthy caregiver who does not have COVID-19, is not at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and is living in the same home feed the expressed breast milk to the baby.
  •  Any caregiver feeding the baby should wear a mask when caring for the baby for the entire time you are in isolation and during their own quarantine period after you complete isolation.

How can I keep my newborn baby safe from COVID-19?

  • Limit visitors to see your new baby

Before allowing or inviting visitors into your home or near your baby, consider the risk of COVID-19 to yourself, your baby, people who live with you, and visitors.

  • Bringing people who do not live with you into your home can increase the risk of spreading COVID-19. Some people without symptoms can spread the virus.
  • Limit in-person gatherings and consider other options, like celebrating virtually, for people who want to see your new baby.
  • If you do plan to have in-person visits, ask guests to stay home if they are sick and ask them to stay six feet away from you and your baby, wear a mask, and wash their hands when visiting your home.
  •  Ask your childcare program about the plans they have in place to protect your baby, family, and their staff from COVID-19.

What are the possible signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection among babies?

Most babies who test positive for COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms. Severe illness in babies has been reported but appears to be rare. Babies with underlying medical conditions and babies born premature (earlier than 37 weeks) might be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Reported signs among newborns with COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • lethargy (being overly tired or inactive)
  • runny nose
  • cough
  • vomiting
  •  diarrhea
  •  poor feeding
  •  increased work of breathing or shallow breathing

If your baby develops symptoms or you think your baby may have been exposed to COVID-19, get in touch with your baby’s healthcare provider within 24 hours and follow steps for caring for children with COVID-19.

If your baby has COVID-19 emergency warning signs (such as trouble breathing), seek emergency care immediately. Call 911.

Where can women go for more information about pregnancy and COVID-19?

CDC coronavirus and pregnancy

https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-advisory/articles/2020/03/novel-coronavirus-2019

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Should you get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant?



If you’re pregnant, the best thing is to get more information so you can evaluate the risks and benefits of getting or not getting the COVID-19 vaccine. People are worried because we don’t have a lot of experience and data about pregnant women and the type of vaccine being used for the COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant women want to be careful and might be nervous about the vaccine.

Jade Elliott spoke with Sean Esplin, MD, Sr. Medical Director, Women’s Health, Intermountain Healthcare about the vaccine and what pregnant women should know.

Download & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Want to listen on another platform? Click here.

What information can help pregnant women decide if they should get the COVID-19 vaccine?

However, national organizations such as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine recommend that each person consider their own potential risk factors and discuss them with their OB provider. They agree that in most cases there is no reason for pregnant women to not receive the vaccine.

What factors might influence a pregnant woman’s decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You’ll want to evaluate your own risk of contracting COVID-19. Talking with your OB provider can help you further evaluate your risk. You are at higher risk if you have lots of contact with people outside your home. For example, if you are a teacher or healthcare worker. You are also at more risk of getting COVID-19 if you are pregnant and over age 35 or are overweight, or have other medical conditions, or smoke or belong to a minority groups. Generally, the vaccine makes sense for women in those groups.

You’ll also want to look at the rate of COVID-19 in your local community. Our positivity rates in Utah are high right now. Most pregnant women in Utah communities should opt to have the vaccine when it’s available.

When people who are pregnant get COVID-19 they have a slightly higher risk of ending up in the ICU and having a severe case COVID-19. It makes sense to protect yourself. The COVID-19 vaccine is a critical part of how we end this pandemic. We want as many people to get the vaccine as they can.

If you’ve had a severe reaction to another vaccine you’ll want to talk about the risks and benefits of the vaccine with your OB provider.

My patients who are pregnant have a wide spectrum of feelings about the vaccine. Some are biased by misinformation they’ve heard about vaccines. For years, we’ve encouraged pregnant women to take other vaccines, such as for the flu, Tdap, etc.

Were pregnant women included in the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trials?

About 50 pregnant women were included in the U.S. trials for COVID-19 either because they didn’t know they were pregnant or they became pregnant after getting the first dose of the vaccine. Typically, pregnant women are not included in trials because it adds another variable and that can make it more difficult to separate out the results. The pregnant women in the trials didn’t have any unexpected side effects or problems. The vaccine seemed to work as effectively as in non-pregnant women.

Does it matter what trimester of your pregnancy you are in when you get the vaccine?

There is no evidence that women in their first or second trimester are at higher risk if they get the vaccine. It is OK to get pregnant after getting vaccine.

What type of vaccine is the COVID-19 vaccine? And how does it work?

This is an MRNA vaccine. Some other types of vaccines are made with a virus that has been killed. The COVID-19 vaccine contains pieces of MRNA, which is basically a recipe for making a protein. It is a very effective way to do a vaccine. It should be safe in pregnancy. It won’t cross the placenta or change MRNA code. It should protect both mom and baby.

Will pregnant women who get the vaccine be studied?

Future studies of the COVID-19 vaccine will include pregnant women. National registries are keeping track of data on pregnant women. We recommend pregnant women now be included in these trials and they continue to collect data.

What about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you get the vaccine, there will be side effects. That’s normal and expected and it’s a sign the vaccine is working. Side effects include a sore arm, body aches, fever, fatigue, headache. The vaccines currently available are 95 percent effective if you get both doses. The efficacy is much more pronounced after the second dose. Be sure to get the second dose.

If you get the vaccine do you still need to wear a mask and practice social distancing and good hand hygiene?

Yes. Getting the vaccine means you have a lower chance of getting the virus, but you can still get the virus. Getting the vaccine also means if you get the virus, your case is likely to be milder than if you didn’t get the vaccine. So wearing masks and practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene will further reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 and other viruses such as the flu or colds as well.

What are the medical experts recommending for pregnant women?

There are different recommendations from different organizations.

National organizations such as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine recommend each person consider their own potential risk factors and discuss them with their OB provider. They agree in most cases there is no reason for pregnant women to not receive the vaccine.

However, the World Health Organization recently announced it is not recommending the vaccine for pregnant women unless they are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, for example if they are a healthcare worker.

However, in response to the WHO recommendation, ACOG and SMFM issued a joint statement yesterday affirming their guidance that both COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who choose to receive the vaccine.

Where can women go for more information?

You can visit websites for the CDCAmerican College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.