The Blast Sept. 2021 Issue No. 4
BBR is looking to expand our Board! If you know a community member or medical professional in the OB/GYN field that would be interested in joining us, please have them send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org We have quarterly zoom meetings and it’s a great group to be involved with.
In this newsletter you will hear from Dr. Donna Neale, Director, Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine at Howard County General Hospital talking about being pregnant in Covid times and a heartfelt memory from a past caller who got a BBR grant.
Last, but not least, we are about to enter that holiday giving time of year. We ask that you consider a donation to our Maternal
Assistance Fund that offers $500 grants to women who are losing an income due to a high-risk pregnancy. To date, we have given out approximately $75,000 to help moms pay a bill for rent, utilities, car payments, insurance and medical bills. Every penny helps. You can make a donation on our website www.betterbedrest.org
Wishing you and your families wonderful fall and please stay safe and healthy out there.
Better BedRest, Inc
My name is Paige and I am from Louisiana. In 2011, I found out that I was pregnant and to my surprise I was pregnant with triplets. It was a surprise and a shock because this is rare without the use of fertility drugs. My doctors told me that I would have to be on bed rest for the duration of my pregnancy. I started to research and read about how to cope with bed rest because I am a very active person. I had no support or anyone who could understand my situation. When
I felt under pressure from the situation, I came across Better BedRest. I began corresponding with them and they provided the emotional support I needed. Not only did they provide me with that love and understanding, but Better BedRest offered to assist financially. Better BedRest was my godsend. I know that this organization is a blessing and will continue to be a blessing to all the women who are in need.
(l to r) Brylee, Braylon, Brylon
(l to r) Brylee, Braylon, Brylon today
Pregnancy during Covid 19 – Is it possible? Is it safe?
Donna M. Neale MD
The SARS-COV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID 19 infections. Other viruses such as Ebola, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) are much deadlier than SARS -COV2, killing 50%, 10% and up to 40%, respectively, of those infected. So, why is COVID 19 so dangerous? First, this virus has never been seen in humans before. This means that NO ONE in the world had immunity to the virus when it first started in 2020. Secondly, the virus spreads easily from one person to another and thirdly, it infects the upper and lower respiratory tracts. The upper respiratory tract includes the mouth and the nose. Therefore, the virus can be spread thru coughing, sneezing, huffing, puffing, singing and even talking loudly. Plus, an infected person can show no symptoms for days yet be spreading the virus. Moreover, an infected person can remain asymptomatic for the entire time that he/she is spreading the virus. Lastly, the SARS-COV-2 virus is very sticky. In fact, it is much stickier than the SARS 1 virus. This sticky property literally allows the virus to quickly attach to cells, stay attached to cells and quickly spread throughout the body. The combination of all of these things makes the novel SARS-COV2 virus very dangerous for us. With this background, let us discuss whether it is possible to have a safe and successful pregnancy during the COVID 19 pandemic.
First, there is no direct effect of the virus on the pregnancy. Women who become infected with COVID 19 during their pregnancy do not have an increased risk of poor pregnancy outcome. However, it is very clear from the data that pregnant women who develop COVID 19 are more at risk for hospitalization, ICU admission, mechanical ventilation and death than their non pregnant counterpart. Those women who require hospitalization may get so ill that they require a preterm delivery. So, there have been reports of increased preterm births with COVID 19 infections but these preterm deliveries are indicated (to improve maternal outcome) versus a spontaneous preterm birth (an early birth that happens because labor starts too soon).
So, how do pregnant women keep themselves safe? Get vaccinated.
Although none of the original COVID vaccine trials included pregnant women, the CDC has followed almost 4,000 women who received the vaccine throughout different points in pregnancy – 1st trimester; 2nd trimester; 3rd trimester and no adverse pregnancy outcomes or short term neonatal outcomes have been observed. There were no increased pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, small for gestational aged baby, birth defects or neonatal deaths. Moreover, and equally important, COVID 19 antibodies have been identified in the cord blood samples and breastmilk after vaccination which indicates passive immunity of the newborn. Thus, the newborns have some protection from COVID 19 after the mother has been vaccinated. In addition, no decrease in pregnancy rates have been observed in women who have been vaccinated, which refutes the claim that the COVID 19 vaccine is linked with infertility.
Because pregnant women infected with COVID 19 tend to get sicker than their nonpregnant counterparts – more chance of ICU admission, intubation and death, and to date, there is no evidence of poor pregnancy outcomes after vaccination, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society of Maternal and Fetal Medicine both advocate for pregnant women to receive the COVID 19 vaccine. For those women who do not want to get vaccinated, we are encouraging them to be vigilant with mask use, social distancing and hand washing protocols. These interventions are very effective; they kept us safe before a vaccine was available. Plus, every pregnant woman should receive the Flu vaccine during flu season, which is typically October – March. The Flu vaccine protects against the flu not COVID 19. But, it is well documented that pregnant women with the Flu can get very ill. So, the combination of the Flu plus COVID 19 puts the pregnant patient at high risk for respiratory failure.
It is very important that your medical care not be interrupted during the pandemic. We recognize that patients want to minimalize their potential exposure to the virus. Some visits can be done via telemedicine. Inquire about this with your provider. Consider trying to bundle medical appointments. For example, consider having your blood drawn or your ultrasound on the same day as your prenatal appointment. Inquire with your provider about their COVID 19 cleaning protocols and visitor policies. It is important that you feel comfortable during your visits. Plus, there may be times that you need an unscheduled visit with your provider. If you ever experience vaginal bleeding, change in fetal movement (once you’re able to feel it), water breakage, contractions before 36 weeks of gestation, burning when you pass your urine, fever, headache that is unusual for you or is unresponsive to Tylenol, blurry vision, spots in front of your eyes, nausea/vomiting, pain under your right breast, these all may be examples of obstetrical emergencies that warrant a call to your provider. Plus, a fever, shortness of breath, cough, heart palpitations, sore throat, loss of taste or smell may all be signs of a COVID 19 infection. Please notify your provider if you have of these symptoms, been exposed to anyone with these symptoms or known COVID 19 infection or have new symptoms of any kind. There is very effective treatment for COVID 19 infection during pregnancy.
Lastly, become familiar with your delivering hospital COVID 19 protocols, such as whether your husband can come with you to Labor and Delivery, can other family members (your other children) come too, will you have a COVID 19 test when you come to Labor and Delivery. The more prepared you are in terms of these things, the more your expectations will be aligned with the reality of what happens in the hospital and you will be able to enjoy your labor and delivery experience.
So, although the COVID 19 pandemic is not over, a woman can have a safe and successful pregnancy. Call your provider if you develop any symptoms of COVID 19. Get vaccinated; stay masked, maintain social distancing at home, work and play, practice vigorous handwashing, get your Flu vaccine, keep up with your prenatal visits, and Enjoy!
Labor of Love Full Circle
Better BedRest, Inc recently honored frontline workers for “Labor Day” in Labor & Delivery and Maternity floors at Holy Cross Hospital at Germantown, Howard County General Hospital and St. Agnes hospitals. We cannot thank the entire staff enough for their many hours of care “full circle” during these challenging times. The staff received Bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes, Columbia, Maryland! It was a sweet treat to help them enjoy their day. We want to thank Bryan and Alice Pax for working with us on this project!
Joanie Reisfeld (Better BedRest founder) and Bryan Pax (owner)
St. Agnes MFM healthcare workers