UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital taking extra precautions to keep moms, babies safe

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PITTSBURGH — Being pregnant during a pandemic can create even more stress, but UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital is taking extra steps to keep women, babies and their families safe.

“What we do know is that pregnant women are no more likely to contract the virus than nonpregnant women,” said Dr. Richard Beigi, President of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.

Staff is keeping a close eye on how the virus affects pregnant women and they’ve already seen some encouraging news.

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“It does not appear that this virus is one that is easily transmitted to the baby while mom’s pregnant through the placenta or through the umbilical cord,” Beigi said.

Beigi still stresses that women should wash their hands often, practice social distancing and wear a mask like everyone else. Also, they should stay home when possible, that includes using telemedicine for doctor’s appointments.

“Very much like you and I are having a conversation right now through video conferencing mechanism. It is the very same thing for women,” he said. “For a large part of the prenatal care, it really doesn't involve anything, but what we're doing now, which is talking, with the physician listening.”

UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has given pregnant women a cuff to monitor their blood pressure.

If there’s a problem or a woman has to come in for an ultrasound or to give birth, there are safety measures in place.

“We are very similar to all other obstetric units across the country,” he said. “We are allowing one visitor after screening. That person gets a mask. We’re screening everybody as they come in. We’re screening visitors. All of our healthcare workers wear masks. Everyone is extremely focused on hygiene and hand washing.”

The hospital is urging families to bring in phones, iPads and any other device to help them stay in touch with their loved ones. For women who don’t have a device, the hospital will provide them with one. Anything to help patients stay connected and calm.

“We know that you're probably anxious and we understand that. We have a very safe environment for you to come in and deliver your baby,” Beigi said.

Beigi said studies show it’s not likely that COVID-19 is transmitted through breast milk, so they’re urging women to continue breast feeding, including any mother who tests positive for the virus. Those moms should wear a mask and wash their hands often while close to the baby.

You can find the latest information on UPMC’s response to COVID-19 at https://upmc.com/covid19.