Pandemic Pregnancies: What You Need to Know

September 17, 2020

Even during the pandemic and everything else that’s happening in our country right now – to quote that dinosaur movie – life finds a way. Women are getting pregnant, and others are continuing to try to become pregnant.

To put it mildly, these are not the best of times. However, it’s still possible to have a normal pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. Read on to learn more about the impact of your choice.

A word of note: no matter what’s happening in the world, it’s a good idea to have a frank discussion with your doctor and your partner before attempting to become pregnant. None of this information is a substitute for those conversations, just information to consider.

If You’re Not Yet Pregnant, But Want to Be

If you and your partner stay healthy, COVID-19 itself will not affect your ability to conceive (though there is scientific research that shows a link between too much stress and infertility). But many doctors and health care specialists are urging women to reconsider and postpone their efforts until things have settled down – unless you’re a woman in your late 30s or older who may have trouble or needs extra time to conceive.

COVID-19 hasn’t just made an impact on health, it has badly damaged our economy and jeopardized funding for public programs, had a significant impact on our health care system, and profoundly affected almost every part of life in this country. Even though there is much reason to hope and believe we’ll have a vaccine near the end of this year, it’s still too early to predict anything. Among the facts you will need to consider:

  • Once you are pregnant, you will have to see the doctor regularly to protect your health and the health of your baby. Though some of these visits can be done with a telehealth screening, many of these visits will have to be in-person. AltaMed and other health facilities are taking precautions to keep patients and staff safe, but it is impossible to,eliminate every risk.
  • The costs of trying to get pregnant, getting prenatal care, and then delivery and after can add up. If your job or your health insurance aren’t secure, it may be tough to pay for.
  • As Los Angeles struggles with coronavirus and we are asked to avoid unnecessary trips, you may find yourself with less in-person support from friends and family. And, whether you’re trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or already have a baby, mixing with people outside of your household could potentially expose you to COVID-19.

If You’re Already Pregnant, There are Risks, But They’re Low

Section 1Congratulations if you’re a mom-to-be. If you stay healthy, coronavirus probably won’t jeopardize your pregnancy or your baby. Even if you do get coronavirus, the risk of transmitting it to your baby is very low. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many high-quality scientific studies to shed light on all of the potential risks.

However, if you do contract coronavirus and develop serious symptoms, this may increase your risks for pregnancy complications, including pre-term birth. More intensive research is needed to confirm, but scientists also believe that simply being pregnant can make you vulnerable to more severe cases of COVID-19.

All of the precautions for people who want to become pregnant apply here, too. Even though you will likely be at home, caring for your infant for some time, professional child-care could be a big question mark. Even asking your closest relatives for help could expose you and your baby to COVID-19 risks, unless they are already living in your household.

Still Not Sure? Talk to Your Doctor

Section 2Even if you already have children, the decision to get pregnant can change your life and your family, and that’s especially true now. Talk to your doctor. Having an informed medical opinion about your unique health history and risks, as well as the current state of COVID-19, may help you make up your mind. And if you are already pregnant, rest assured knowing that AltaMed is here for all your prenatal care needs.

Doctors and public health officials urge everyone, including those who are pregnant or wish to be, to get their flu shots early this year. Schedule an appointment to get your immunizations today. Flu shots are safe for pregnant woman and their babies, no matter what trimester. It’s one more way to protect yourself and your entire family.

AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.

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Prenatal Care is Good for Moms and for Babies

November 07, 2018

Even in this modern day and age, the ability to grow a little human being inside you is still magical.

Whether you’re having your first baby or your fourth, getting care early can help you have a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Start Before You’re Even Pregnant!
couple on bed

If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, ask your doctor about a preconception visit. The preconception visit focuses on your health history and habits, with the goal of giving you personalized nutrition and lifestyle recommendations so you have the best chance for an easy, carefree pregnancy.

At the preconception visit, you should tell your doctor about any prescription drugs or herbal remedies you’re taking. If you have a health condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend certain foods and vitamins and getting your condition under control before you start trying to have a baby.

Before you even see a doctor, here are a few good health tips to follow:

  • Most women should start taking a folic acid supplement at least one month before you start trying to get pregnant. Folic acid can help prevent birth defects of the brain stem or spinal cord.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • With your doctor’s approval, get regular exercise.
  • Excessive caffeine and consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and use of illegal substances can hurt your chances of conception and are harmful to the baby during pregnancy.
  • Avoid exposure to substances like lead and radiation.

Once You’re Pregnant

Even if you’re not sure you’re pregnant, visit your doctor. Prenatal care can drastically reduce your risk of complications, which is why it’s important to see your doctor on a regular basis.

Prenatal visits usually include a physical exam, weight checks, and having your urine checked. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, your doctor may also check your blood and perform imaging tests, such as ultrasound exams, to check on your baby’s health.

Prenatal visits are your time to ask questions about your pregnancy. Make notes as you think of them and bring them in – no question is too small, especially when it comes to the health of you and your baby.

AltaMed is Here for You!
prenatal class

AltaMed offers moms-to-be services that support their physical and mental wellbeing. Your doctor can tell you which services are appropriate for you.

  • Regular and frequent checkups, the whole time you’re pregnant
  • Classes and one-on-one information about pregnancy, childbirth, baby care, and breastfeeding
  • How to apply for financial help and resources such as Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, and WIC
  • Help with cutting down or quitting smoking, drinking, or using drugs
  • Counseling on problems or family issues you may have
  • Referral to community agencies that can provide additional help and services

From even before you get pregnant, all through your pregnancy, delivery, and after, AltaMed is dedicated to helping your baby grow up, healthy and strong. We want to be your first stop, and your first choice, for your entire family.

How Do I Know if a C-Section is Right for Me?

May 01, 2019

You may have planned for a vaginal birth, but something changed. Your baby is in the breech position or unexpected problems started during labor, and your doctor tells you that you need a cesarean section (C-section). How should you prepare? How do you know if you’re making the right choice?

We have put together this outline highlighting some of the benefits and risks of C-sections to help you make an informed decision if your doctor asks you to consider having one. It will also help you advocate for yourself and your baby.

C-Sections: When You Should Consider One

Mom and a newborn baby

If you search online, you’ll find plenty of advice telling you that vaginal births are safer than C-sections for women and babies. But C-sections may be& vital or even life-saving in certain cases, and it’s important to know about those possibilities.

A C-section may be the safest choice for you and your baby if:

  • Your baby is sideways
  • The placenta is covering the cervix
  • The baby’s heart rate is not normal
  • A vaginal delivery could be unsafe for either of you

C-Sections: When It Might Not Be the Best Option

Mom in surgery room

Women have gone through pregnancy, labor, and delivery for thousands of years – safely, in most cases. While C-sections are safer for mothers and babies in certain high-risk situations, most women will be safer with a vaginal birth.

Even when they’re necessary, C-sections carry the same risks as any major surgery, including infection, injury, and severe bleeding. Recovery after a C-section is long and may be more difficult than with a vaginal birth. C-sections can also cause risks and complications in future pregnancies.

You can push back if your doctor recommends a C-section for any of these reasons:

  • Your doctor believes the baby will be large
  • Labor is slow but you and your baby are doing well
  • Progress has stopped but there are no concerns with the health of you or your child

Advocating for Yourself

Pregnant woman in her doctor appointment

Talk to your doctor, your birth team, and your family and let them know that you only want a C-section if it is necessary for medical reasons. If a C-section is suggested for you, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get the answers you need to make the right choice.

Some questions you may want to ask are:

  • What are the benefits of a C-section in my situation?
  • Could there be any problems or risks if I choose to continue with a vaginal birth?
  • What are my chances for severe risks?
  • Are the risks the same if I had a C-section?
  • How likely am I to get injured or sick during a C-section?

The Big Takeaway

Pregnant woman and her doctor

Don’t let anyone talk you into doing something that makes you uncomfortable, especially having a potentially risky surgery. Know your options, do your research in advance, and be clear about what you want.

When making such a personal decision, it’s important that you can communicate with your doctor and you feel like you’re both on the same team. Our doctor finder tool can help you find an OB/GYN who speaks your preferred language and is close to home or work. We want you to feel comfortable with your doctor and be confident that you’re making the right decisions together.

To learn more about the pros and cons of C-sections, as well as some of the realities of the surgery, visit MyBirthMatters. This helpful site was put together by the California Maternal Quality Care Collective, an organization dedicated to improving health care outcomes for mothers and infants.