As COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, concerned individuals are doing everything they can to prevent themselves, and others, from contracting the novel coronavirus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization have classified certain groups of people as most vulnerable to the deadly virus, like the elderly, chronically ill, as immunocompromised. Does that include pregnant women, like Katy Perry? Three top OB-GYNs have explained the risks for pregnant women to HollywoodLife, and explained what they can do to protect themselves during this global pandemic.
The good news, Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz says, is that pregnant women aren’t more at risk of contracting COID-19 than a non-pregnant individual. “Because most pregnant women are generally healthy without chronic medical conditions, if a pregnant woman contracts disease, it would likely be mild, meaning there would be a full recovery,” Ruiz, the OB-GYN Lead at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical in Fountain Valley, CA said in our EXCLUSIVE interview. Like anyone, they still must try to prevent COVID-19, though. “The most important precautions are good hygiene practices, like frequent hand washing. Frequent use of hand sanitizers is also helpful. Instead of handshakes, use an elbow bump or a non-contact form of greeting. Avoid touching your face,” Ruiz said. “Face masks are not recommended for those who are well; anyone who has a respiratory infection who must go out in public should wear a face mask.”
Ruiz advised pregnant women to follow the protocols that everyone else is practicing: cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, avoid sick people, stop attending events with large groups of people. Social distancing is key! Should you fall ill, Ruiz recommends taking acetaminophen for fever, and using cough drops and cough syrup to “keep mucus secretions thinner.” For nasal congestion, antihistamines and Sudafed are safe to use during pregnancy, he advised, adding that “currently, mild cases are thought to last approximately two weeks. The more severe cases could last longer. Fortunately, the vast majority of cases are mild.”
We also spoke to Dr. Alex Polyakov, an OBGYN and Clinical Director of IVF at Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Polyakov echoed Dr. Ruiz’s advice for pregnant women. “At this point it is advisable for pregnant women to exercise the same degree of caution as any other group,” he said in our EXCLUSIVE interview. “Personal hygiene is of paramount importance to avoid getting infected. Minimizing personal contact with other people seems appropriate. Frequent hand washing and avoiding large gatherings is also advised.”
Dr. Nita Landry, OB-GYN and co-host of The Doctors, isn’t as sure that pregnant women aren’t at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 — because there isn’t sufficient information about this illness yet. “As of now, very little is known about the novel coronavirus,” Dr. Landry explained in our EXCLUSIVE interview. “But when we think about its effect on pregnant women, there aren’t any specific recommendations, because we don’t have very much information. What we do know is that, overall, pregnant women can have physiological and immune changes that can make them more susceptible to getting certain viruses; it can make them more susceptible to severe illness, or morbidity, or mortality. But this virus just came out, so we don’t have information specifically regarding the novel coronavirus in pregnant women.”
Dr. Landry said, like the others doctors we interviewed, that pregnant women should protect themselves the same way others are doing. “Right now, we’re telling pregnant women to do the same things,” she said. “Pregnant women should be cautious and I would encourage them to listen to reputable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and local health departments. And, at some point, if those agencies say go ahead and avoid certain situations, then I would encourage them to take heed to that warning.”
So, Katy Perry and fiancé Orlando Bloom are already following that advice expertly! The “Roar” singer was in Australia when the pandemic began, and went on a 24-hour lockdown after staying at the same hotel as COVID-positive Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. She was later spotted leaving the country and heading to the United States before President Donald Trump‘s travel ban went into effect. Orlando, who was filming Carnival Row in Prague, did the same. The couple are currently self-quarantining, and Orlando said they’re doing the responsible thing and putting their wedding plans “on ice!”