Pregnant women face new concerns amid coronavirus pandemic

Pregnant women concerned over coronavirus

Two major hospital chains in New York City are blocking spouses and partners from maternity rooms to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Millions of expectant mothers have concerns about the virus, including CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste, who is nearly nine months pregnant.

At 27 weeks pregnant, Raquel Iacurto tested positive for COVID-19. "I was in shock," she said. "I broke down and my husband was my rock and calmed me down."

Data on the impact of coronavirus in pregnant women, fetuses and newborns is limited but hopeful.

"What we know, at this point, is that pregnant women do not seem to get any sicker once they get COVID-19 than the general population," Dr. Laura Riley said.

Riley said the flu is still more dangerous for pregnant women. Doctors say coronavirus does not appear to pass from mother to baby through the placenta or breast milk, but that it's too early to tell if there are concerns for women in early pregnancy, like miscarriage or birth defects.

"I'm worried about my baby," Battiste, who is nearly 34 weeks pregnant herself, said. "What is the concern for a newborn?"

"I think the concern for a newborn is whether or not they will contract the infection after mom delivers," Riley said.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said "pregnant patients should follow the same recommendations as the general population," which includes wearing a mask if she has the virus or symptoms. But some doctors, like Battiste's, suggest wearing a mask in public.  

"And I know everyone's case is different, but living proof you will get through it and you will be OK," Iacurto said.