Katie Kurutz-Ulloa | First 5 LA Communications Specialist

August 26, 2020

In the early days of the pandemic, Atlantic staff reporter Ashley Fetters wrote: “Schools, churches, day-care centers, bars, and restaurants will be closed for weeks or months; travel will be severely interrupted; and entire sports seasons will be postponed and rescheduled for the fall. But babies will still be born—even though the conditions under which people prepare, give birth, and care for their new babies will be radically altered.”

Her words were prescient, as we’ve learned in the past five months. While babies are still being born, prenatal care, hospital births, and the overall energy surrounding pregnancy have gotten more confusing and anxiety-provoking than ever before, and the news media has been present to cover the story.

Pregnancy can be a vulnerable time without the threat of coronavirus infection, but during the pandemic, pregnant women have had to face a growing number of uncertainties that directly or indirectly impact them and their growing fetuses. Much is still unknown about how the virus affects pregnant women; however, a dizzying array of decisions about how much or how little exposure expectant mothers should have to others — including doctors, coworkers, and family members —has created a patchwork of guidance that has left some women without support.

Soon after the country “shut down” in March, and strict social distancing practices were adopted in some states, pregnant women were faced with challenging decisions and sometimes cruel rules. For example, the New York City hospital network, where the epicenter of the virus outbreak was at the time, instituted the most restrictive visitor policies in the country, banning spouses, doulas and any other supports outside of the immediate medical team from the birthing process. While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reversed the decision in late March, New York hospitals still only allow one person in the birthing room and encourage any other supports to be “brought in” digitally — a practice hospitals across the country still currently follow.

Hospital rules and anxieties around the virus have caused some women to reevaluate their delivery plans altogether, with many wondering if they should switch their plans to have a home birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics and The American College of Obstetricians strongly recommend against home birth, however, pointing out that planned home birth in the United States is associated with a two- to threefold increase in infant deaths. And while some home-birth advocates applauded the renewed interest in home birth, some midwives consider it a “red flag” if a woman is considering home birth out of fear.

Of the pregnant women in essential jobs, especially those in the medical field, several have reported that their employers will not give them special consideration. Investigative journalism outlet ProPublica followed the story of Molly Baldwin, a nursing home social worker, whose employer would not accommodate her requests to minimize contact with the residents, one of whom tested COVID-19 positive. Additionally, Bergen’s obstetrician would not see her, citing her “high-risk” job. To pay the bills, Bergen continued to work at the facility, exposing herself to the virus, and ultimately testing positive.

As the pandemic unfolds, it has also become clear that communities of color are being disproportionately hit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of the pregnant women who have tested positive for the coronavirus in June, July and August are Hispanic or Latina. Additionally, recent news stories report that racism and exclusionary practices that contribute to the infant and maternal mortality crisis already facing Black mothers are now on overdrive, putting these mothers at risk.

As with many things surrounding coronavirus, research on how it affects the body is still in the early stages, but anecdotal reports provide some clues. The data show that expectant mothers — whose cardiovascular systems are already taxed by supporting both mother and fetus — are at higher risk for ICU admission or to be put on a respirator; however, these women are not more likely to contract the virus. Also, pregnant women who have tested positive with COVID-19 are unlikely to pass the virus onto their baby once they are born. However, a very small Italian study found a couple of cases in which the virus was passed from mother to baby in utero, proving it can be.

In May, the National Institutes of Health announced the launch of a study focusing on the virus’s impact on pregnant women; any findings are still a ways off, however. Two of the largest coronavirus vaccine trials in the country included in their announcements that they will exclude pregnant women from the initial stage. While this type of exclusion is common in vaccine trials, it is problematic, as a large percentage of the population are pregnant women or women of childbearing age.

As society continues to evolve its practices to keep people as safe as possible, pregnant women and their families will have to make nimble and informed choices around care and birth. First 5 LA has compiled a robust library of article links below, organized by topic, to help you, our reader, stay informed of the evolving story and what we understand to date.

  • Health Disparities for Pregnant BIPOC Women
  • Recommendations
  • Hospital Stays/At Home Births/Doulas/Midwives
  • What we know: Impact and Vulnerability
  • Vaccines
  • Transmission to Infant
  • Pregnant and Working in the Pandemic
  • Personal Accounts/Individual Stories
  • Anxiety and Depression

Health Disparities for Pregnant BIPOC Women

Refinery 29: Being Black & Pregnant Was Already Scary — Coronavirus Makes It Even Scarier
The rapid spread of COVID-19, the novel virus that has affected the lives and livelihoods of thousands globally, has shifted everything from doing business to administering care. (Cadet, 4/9/20)

SELF: What It’s Like to Be a Doula Working With Black Pregnant People Right Now
In our new series What It’s Like, we speak with people from a wide range of backgrounds about how their lives have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Bahadur, 4/9/20)

ABC News: I’m black and pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic and this is why I’m scared
Marbre Stahly-Butts, a 34-year-old woman in Brooklyn, spent most of her pregnancy planning to ensure she did not become a statistic in the maternal mortality crisis in the U.S., a crisis that disproportionately affects black women. (Kindelan, 4/17/20)

Roll Call: COVID-19 amplifies racial disparities in maternal health
Advocates, lawmakers are working to make changes to curb maternal deaths. (Raman, 5/13/20)

Fast Company: Black pregnant women face a mortality crisis—and now a pandemic. Can tech help?
Many are turning to apps, online communities, and virtual workshops to stay connected and healthy, even when faced with a biased healthcare system. (Meadows-Fernandez, 5/19/20)

The Washington Post: The pandemic’s mental health impact is dangerous for new moms. Especially black moms.
Davis was diagnosed with postpartum depression, and with a lack of physical connection and a present support system because of social distancing guidelines, she’s struggling. (Glass, 6/10/20)

Today: Black. Pregnant. And COVID-19 positive.
Black women already face high maternal mortality rates. The coronavirus pandemic could make that worse. (Frank & Murray, 6/30/20)

Shape Magazine: 11 Ways Black Women Can Protect Their Mental Health During Pregnancy and Postpartum
Black maternal health providers share the advice they give their own patients that any Black expectant or new mom can learn from. (Shortsleeve, 7/7/20)

The New York Times: Study of Coronavirus in Pregnant Women Finds Striking Racial Differences
About 10 percent of Black and Latino participants in a Philadelphia study of pregnant women had been exposed to the coronavirus, compared with 2 percent of white participants. (Wu, 7/10/20)

ABC News: Latinas comprise disproportionate share of COVID cases among pregnant women
“I was 37 weeks pregnant and I was terrified.” (Romero, 7/13/20)

NBC Los Angeles: Pregnant and Latina Is a High-Risk Combination for COVID-19, Health Officials Say
Thirty-two-year-old Christel Duran says her pregnancy is another reason to stay home and follow health safety guidelines. (Chang, 7/20/20)

NBC Los Angeles: Pregnant Women Higher Risk for COVID-19, Latina Pregnant Woman Even Moreso
Latina make up three out of every four COVID-19 patients among pregnant women. Hetty Chang reported on NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Monday. (Chang, 7/21/20)

Forbes: #BumpDay Highlights Coronavirus And Racial Disparities In Pregnancy
Today is #BumpDay, a social media advocacy campaign started in 2015 by What to Expect, the What to Expect Project and International Medical Corps, a humanitarian aid organization, to build awareness of the need for better, more accessible maternal healthcare in the U.S and globally. (Stone, 7/22/20)

BuzzFeed News: The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Making The Threat Of Summer Heat Worse For Pregnant Women
As summer heats up and coronavirus cases continue to surge, pregnant women of color in particular face the greatest health risks. (Hirji, 8/1/20)

Popular Science: Black mothers face high death rates. Now they have to contend with climate change, too.
Pollution and heat affect Black pregnancies disproportionately. (Wang, 8/4/20)

The New York Times: She Was Pregnant With Twins During Covid. Why Did Only One Survive?
Why being Black and giving birth in New York during the pandemic is so dangerous. (Bobrow, 8/6/20)

CBS News: Is COVID-19 making Black birth more complicated?
“Before I went into the hospital, I told my husband, ‘please don’t let them kill me,'” she said. “I had a really big fear of dying.” (Bahadur, 8/8/20)

Vox: America is failing Black moms during the pandemic
The pandemic is making the maternal health care crisis worse. It doesn’t have to be this way. (North, 8/9/20)

SELF: Coronavirus Might Make Black Maternal Mortality Even Worse
What happens when one public health crisis meets another? (Bahadur, 8/11/20)

The Washington Post: The number of pregnant Latinas with covid-19 is staggering. And a warning sign, doctors say.
Each time she holds her newborn twins, the mother sees the inch-wide wound on her right arm marking the place where doctors lodged tubes into her body to keep her alive. (Schmidt & Tan, 8/16/20)

Rewire.News: COVID-19 Is Complicating Pregnancies. This Black Midwife Has a Plan for That.
Midwives have seen an interest in their services during the pandemic as pregnant people consider deliveries outside a hospital. (8/19/20)

Hospital Stays/At Home Births/Doulas/Midwives

NPR: Views From A New York City Midwife During The Epidemic
NPR’s Michel Martin, Hansi Lo Wang and Rebecca Hersher speak with New York City midwife Eugenia Montesinos about the effect the coronavirus is having on her work. (3/25/20)

Los Angeles Times: Women in New York giving birth alone may be facing their ‘worst nightmare’
This week, Schreck, who is scheduled to deliver via C-section in late April, was one of thousands of pregnant women in New York City who learned they would have to give birth without anyone in attendance: no partner, no doula, no family member. (Blake, 3/27/20)

The Cut: New York Hospitals Will Not Ban Partners During Child Birth
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has overruled a policy put in place by two major hospital systems last week, issuing an executive order on Saturday that ensured anyone giving birth can have one support person on-hand during labor and delivery — provided that person does not have a fever. (Gold & Lampen, 3/29/20)
Also featured in Vogue (Valenti, 3/29/20)

The New York Times: Should You Have a Home Birth Because of Coronavirus?
Women are reconsidering their options for delivering babies, but there are not enough midwives to meet their needs. (Gammon, 3/30/20)

CBS: Pregnant women in New York will not have to give birth alone amid coronavirus outbreak, governor says
In no hospital in New York will a woman be forced to be alone when she gives birth. Not now, not ever,” Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted Saturday. (O’Kane, 3/30/20)

Fortune: Barred from hospital births, doulas adjust to the coronavirus crisis
As the coronavirus spread throughout New York, hospitals took the extreme action of limiting visitors who could transmit the virus. Several placed limits on visitors to delivery rooms, including the partners of women in labor. (Hinchliffe, 3/30/20)

WBUR: Pregnant Women Could Give Birth In Hospitals Filled With COVID-19 Patients
As pregnant women and their doctors consider how the COVID-19 epidemic is affecting pregnancy and care, maternity wards across the country are changing policies on deliveries and visitors. (Pfeiffer, 3/30/20)

Slate: For Pregnant Women Who Are Scared of Hospitals Right Now, Is Switching to Home Birth Better?
The world has changed in the last month, even in the last week, the last days. My husband was listening last night to a podcast from two weeks ago—“It’s almost quaint,” he remarked. These changes extend to, and perhaps are even worse for, those who are pregnant. (Oster, 3/29/20)

The New Yorker: A Chaotic Week for Pregnant Women in New York City
Early on Sunday, March 22nd, Lauren Pelz got a text from a friend who’d heard that the NewYork-Presbyterian (N.Y.P.) hospital network had decided to bar partners from accompanying women in labor, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. (Bobrow, 4/1/20)

Refinery 29: What It’s Like To Be Pregnant In The Coronavirus Pandemic
For those who are pregnant, the unknowns of the coronavirus outbreak are especially stressful. (Longman, 4/1/20)

The Los Angeles Times: Pregnant women forced to get creative as coronavirus bears down on L.A. hospitals
Two weeks before her son was due, Layla Shaikley sat down to repack her hospital bag. (Sharp, 4/1/20)

USA Today: ‘Grateful that we have this option’: Some pregnant women turn to home births amid coronavirus pandemic
As hospitals around the nation are transformed into coronavirus battle stations where overwhelmed medical teams with limited supplies fight a new, incurable disease, more expectant mothers are deciding it’s safer to give birth at home. (Nahorniak, 4/5/20)

The Cut: ‘They Separated Me From My Baby’
Hospitals are keeping newborns from their parents over coronavirus fears. (Carmon, 4/7/20)

VOGUE: Should I Choose My Doula Over My Partner? Navigating Birth Support in the Era of COVID-19
While not implemented nationwide, the common practice to protect laboring mothers, their newborns, and healthcare workers from the virus’s spread often means making a difficult choice: whether to have your partner or your doula by your side during childbirth. (Ellenberg, 4/15/20)

Spectrum News: More Expecting Moms Turn to Midwives, Home Births During Pandemic
Heidi Ricks started her practice 11 years ago and continues to stand beside new moms through every step of their pregnancy. (Steininger, 4/15/20)

The New York Times: From Home to Hospital: Giving Birth During the U.S. Coronavirus Outbreak
That conviction turned to doubt when in late March most U.S. states ordered residents to stay home and hospitals and doctors began taking new precautions to protect pregnant women and their babies against the novel coronavirus sweeping the nation. (4/16/20)

The Daily News: Amid coronavirus outbreak, pregnant women reconsidering their delivery plans
Some women are turning to home deliveries because of hospital restrictions on visitors, COVID-19 infection concerns. (Grigoryants, 4/18/20)

INSIDER: It’s a scary time to have a baby in a hospital. Home births need to be more accessible to pregnant women.
Journalist Allison Yarrow argues that the pandemic is an opportune moment for women to consider giving birth at home, where they might feel safer and more in control of the experience. (Yarrow, 4/21/20)

WBEZ: Doulas Are Providing Support To Pregnant Women During The Pandemic — From A Distance
Home-visiting programs can help pregnant women and new moms support their babies, but COVID-19 has forced doulas to shift their approach. (An, 4/28/20)

Vox: The demand for midwives is surging. Here’s why I made the switch to home birth.
The pandemic uprooted my pregnancy plan. So I made the decision to have my baby outside the hospital system. (Molla, 4/28/20)

The New York Times: Prenatal Care May Look Very Different After Coronavirus
The shift from in-person visits to telehealth appointments could be here to stay. (Goligoski, 4/28/20)

WBUR: Major Boston Hospitals Are Virus Testing Pregnant Patients Arriving To Give Birth
Major hospitals across Greater Boston have a new admissions step for patients who arrive in early labor: a coronavirus test. (Bebinger, 4/28/20)

Quartz: The challenges of supporting pregnant women during Covid-19, from a midwife
As Covid-19 has spread around the world, people struggling to breathe have overwhelmed healthcare systems. (Ossola, 4/30/20)

The New York Times: ‘I’m Officially Scared’: Giving Birth in a Hospital During a Pandemic
“We didn’t touch her face. We didn’t touch her skin. We didn’t breathe on her.” (5/5/20)

Yes! Magazine: How Birth Doulas Are Helping Parents Navigate Coronavirus
Doulas provide emotional and physical support before, during, and after birth. With concerns over the spread of COVID-19, this service has become even more crucial. (Hayden, 5/5/20)

The Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus is making expectant parents anxious. This doula wants to help
For parents-to-be, Mother’s Day in the age of the coronavirus might feel like an onerous reminder of the unexpected challenges ahead. (Scharf, 5/8/20)

CNN: At home or the hospital? Giving birth during a pandemic
Nancy Pedroza was expecting her first child, and the due date was just weeks away. Then the pandemic hit. (Almond, 5/8/20)

Spectrum Local News: Increase in Home Births During COVID-19 Pandemic
Local doulas and midwives say they’ve seen an increase in families requesting home births during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Manney, 5/10/20)

The Economist: The pandemic is making America rethink its shunning of midwifery
The quest for safe childbirth. (6/20/20)

Medical Xpress: During COVID-19, women are opting for ‘freebirthing’ if homebirths aren’t available, and that’s a worry
The pandemic is prompting some Australian pregnant women to give birth at home without a midwife or registered health provider, according to a survey out this week. Another new survey helps explain why. (7/9/20)

WAMU: D.C.’s Pandemic Policies Are Still Keeping Doulas Out Of Hospital Rooms In Phase Two
Savannah Babino is due to give birth at any moment. She’s prepared as best she can for the event, planning to have her mother, her sister, and her fiance nearby as she brings her second daughter into the world. (Delgadillo, 7/10/20)

VICE: More Women Are Having Home Births Because of Coronavirus
Nationwide, expectant parents are avoiding the hospital and turning to midwives. (Giraldo, 7/15/20)

PopSugar: Virtual Doulas Help Moms Get On-Demand Care — Here’s Everything You Need to Know
But there’s more than that available now, as virtual doula services change the landscape of maternity care by electronically connecting new parents with certified doulas to provide support leading up to and throughout the fourth trimester. Here’s what you need to know. (Main, 7/21/20)


Huffington Post: How To Prepare For Giving Birth During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Because policies are changing by the minute — and many parents’ birth plans have been upended by COVID-19. (Pearson, 3/30/20)

Yahoo Lifestyle: 5 Questions Pregnant Women Should Be Asking About Their Birth Plans During the COVID-19 Outbreak
For families who are bringing a new baby into the world any day now, navigating the birth process during the COVID-19 outbreak can be incredibly stressful. (Moroney, 3/31/20)

U.S. News & World Report: Pregnant Women Need to Guard Against Coronavirus
Pregnant women with COVID-19 may be susceptible to pregnancy complications, an obstetrician-gynecologist says. (Preidt, 4/6/20)

NBC Los Angeles: Pregnant During the Pandemic? Here Are Some Tips to Help Stay Safe
Dr. Tanya Altmann from Calabasas Pediatrics shares healthy pregnancy tips with NBC LA’s Heather Brooker. They also discuss birth plans, and helping young children deal with anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic. (4/9/20)

The Washington Post: Pregnant women are urged to avoid stress. What happens when a pandemic makes that impossible?
My main concern while sick was my pregnancy. Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance that transmission of the coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, I knew there were still many unknowns. (Ali, 5/11/20)

USA Today: As states reopen, medical experts recommend pregnant women stay vigilant against COVID-19
Cherie Smith’s been outside her Highlands Ranch, Colorado, home and car just once since March 26. That was for an April 16 appointment with her obstetrician. (O’Donnell, 5/30/20)

Forbes: Protecting Pregnant Women From Covid-19
Many months into the pandemic, we’re beginning to learn more—and in more detail—about how the Covid-19 is disrupting the health and wellbeing of specific populations. (Haseltine, 6/22/20)

WAMU: Navigating Pregnancy Risks In The COVID-19 Era
“I’m terrified,” she says. “My husband’s still going to the grocery store, and that’s pretty much the only place that he goes. And the only place that I go is the doctor’s office.” (Wamsley, 7/17/20)

NPR: Pregnancy and COVID-19. What We Know and How To Protect Yourself.
Dr. Laura Riley, the chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Obstetrician-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian, explains what we know at this point from the available research and what pregnant women can do to protect themselves. (Duckworth, 8/1/20)

Newsweek: Pregnancy in the Time of Coronavirus: 3 Practical Ways to Have a Happy Pregnancy During the COVID-19 Era
Pregnancy is beautiful and miraculous. It also brings plenty of struggles, difficulties, and vulnerabilities. (Ward, 8/3/20)

What we know: Impact and Vulnerability

The Conversation: Pregnant in a time of coronavirus – the changing risks and what you need to know
While knowledge about the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is rapidly evolving and there are still many unknowns, medical groups and studies are starting to provide advice and answers to questions many expecting families are asking. (Chapa, 3/28/20)

Futurity: What pregnant people should know about COVID-19
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, pregnant women report concerns about how COVID-19 could affect them and their unborn babies. (Verbanas-Rutgers, 3/30/20)

WBUR: Harvard OB-GYN: In Fast-Changing Landscape, Much To Learn About COVID-19 And Pregnancy
The coronavirus pandemic is profoundly changing the experience of pregnancy — from the first trimester to labor, delivery and even those early weeks and months of a baby’s life. (Oakes & Bebinger, 3/31/20)

CBS Los Angeles: Pregnant Women, Newborns Not Showing More Susceptibility To Coronavirus
However, Dr. Mina Desai of the Lundquist Institute tells Suzanne Marques this is preliminary information based on limited evidence. (3/31/20)

The New York Times: What Pregnant Women Should Know About Coronavirus
The risks, so far, seem no greater than for anyone else, but the research is thin and only applies to later stage of pregnancy. (Mandavilli, 4/2/20)

The New York Times: Pregnant and Worried About Coronavirus? Experts Weigh In
We found answers to some of the most pressing questions posed by expecting mothers. (Caron, 4/6/20)

New Hampshire Public Radio: What To Expect In The Time Of Coronavirus? For Pregnant Women, It’s Uncertainty.
Pregnancy is already mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting. But being pregnant right now, in the middle of this pandemic means managing a long list of additional fears and what ifs. (Chooljian, 4/6/20)

Los Angeles Magazine: Preparing to Give Birth During the Pandemic Can Be Challenging at Best
Samantha Roxas recently relocated to Los Angeles from San Francisco, and is expecting her first child in July. (Peleg, 4/7/20)

San Francisco Chronicle: UCSF study investigates coronavirus impact on pregnancy
A new UCSF study seeks to better understand how the novel coronavirus affects pregnant women and their babies. (Feldberg, 4/10/20)

The Hill: Getting ready to give birth amid a pandemic
That was the most jarring instruction my OB-GYN office delivered before one of my final appointments. I’m a few, short weeks from my due date and thankfully healthy. But the lead-up to the debut of our third child has been … different. (Kurtz, 4/8/20)

U.S. News & World Report: At Delivery, Most Pregnant Women With Coronavirus Don’t Show Symptoms: Study
A study of pregnant women admitted to two New York City hospitals for delivery in late March and early April found that about 1 in 7 were infected with the new coronavirus and most didn’t show symptoms. (Mundell, 4/14/20)

Forbes: Pregnant In The Time Of Pandemic
As New York’s hospitals and doctors battle a deadly virus, and mass graves fill with the fallen, new life hangs in the balance. Here are some ways expectant mothers can take charge and protect it. (Parker, 4/15/20)

EurekAlert: COVID-19 and pregnancies: What we know
Researchers call for additional studies on viral pathology for mothers, newborns. (Johns, 4/27/20

U.S. News & World Report: Rural Moms Already Have No Place to Go. The Coronavirus Will Make the Problem Worse.
The pandemic is poised to exacerbate a decline in access to care for pregnant women in rural communities across the country. (Kozhimannil, 4/28/20)

NBC Bay Area: How Does Coronavirus Affect Pregnancy and Newborns?
Much remains unknown about how the novel coronavirus impacts pregnant women and their babies. UCLA and UCSF, however, hope to shed light on the disease by orchestrating a nationwide study to. monitor and track the conditions of at least 1,000 pregnant women who are either infected with COVID-19 or awaiting testing. (Multiple Authors, 4/30/20)

Huffington Post: How Coronavirus Has Changed What It’s Like To Give Birth In America
In just a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed childbirth and pregnancy around the country. (Pearson, 5/4/20)

WABE: Childbirth And Coronavirus: The Pandemic’s Toll On Atlanta Mothers And Midwives
Women going into labor at metro Atlanta hospitals can expect limits on the number of relatives, spouses, or birthing coaches who can be close by during the coronavirus pandemic. (Rayam & Oppenheimer, 5/4/20)

USA Today: During COVID-19 crisis, prioritize release of pregnant inmates
Death of federal prisoner from coronavirus days after giving birth shows how vulnerable, isolated population is. (Sufrin & Kuhlik, 5/9/20

Bloomberg: Pregnancy Doesn’t Elevate Risk of Severe Covid-19 in Study
Mothers-to-be are at no greater risk of developing severe cases of Covid-19 than the general population, according to a team led by researchers at the University of Oxford. (Kew, 5/11/20)

Forbes: Coronavirus Exposes The Business Of Safe Birth
During the coronavirus pandemic, midwives around the world have been experiencing a sharp increase in the demand for their care in community birth settings: homes and freestanding birth centers. (Niethammer, 5/14/20)

EurekAlert: Pregnant and lactating women with COVID-19: Scant clinical research
Pregnant and breastfeeding women have been excluded from clinical trials of drugs to treat COVID-19, and as result, there is no safety data to inform clinical decisions. (5/18/20)

National Institutes of Health: NIH-funded study to investigate pregnancy outcomes resulting from COVID-19 pandemic
The National Institutes of Health has launched a multipronged study to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic during and after pregnancy. (5/19/20)

Forbes: Separate Studies Launched to Investigate Coronavirus Impact On Pregnancy
A new study will analyze the medical records of 21,000 women to find out if changes in healthcare delivery implemented as a result of the pandemic led to higher rates of complications and cesarean delivery. (Durkin, 5/20/20)

U.S. News & World Report: COVID Can Complicate Pregnancy, Especially If Mom Is Obese
Some pregnant women with COVID-19 do become severely ill, and the risk may be elevated for those who were obese or had conditions like asthma before pregnancy, a new study suggests. (Norton, 5/21/20)

The Science Times: Can Coronavirus Affect Babies in Uterus? New Study Suggests it Could
A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology highlights the effects of the COVID-19 infection in pregnant mothers to the histology of their placentas after giving birth. (Simmons, 5/21/20)
Also featured in Forbes (Milling, 5/22/20), The New York Times(Reuters, 5/22/20)

Health Affairs: Centering The Needs Of Birthing People During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Infectious disease pandemics can exacerbate other underlying epidemics and health disparities. Perhaps no epidemic in the United States is more heartbreaking than our record on maternal mortality, which has doubled over the past two decades. (Miller & Espinoza, 5/26/20)

U.S. News & World Report: Clotting Tied to COVID-19 May Harm the Placenta
Women who had COVID-19 while pregnant showed evidence of placental injury, suggesting a new complication of the illness, researchers say. (Mundell, 5/27/20)

WebMD: COVID Rates Lower Than Thought for Pregnant Women
A new study suggests the rate of COVID-19 among pregnant women without symptoms is much lower than previously reported. (Preidt, 6/1/20)

The New York Times: Study Raises Concerns for Pregnant Women With the Coronavirus
Pregnant women who are infected wind up in hospitals and I.C.U.’s at higher rates, a federal analysis suggests. But the data is far from conclusive. (Mandavilli, 6/24/20)

USA Today: Pregnant women with COVID-19 are 5 times more likely to be hospitalized
Pregnant women may be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, breaking from earlier guidance that found no difference in risk between the two groups. (Hauck & Weise, 6/25/20)
Also featured in Today (Hohman, 6/25/20), Business Insider (Miller, 6/25/20), Bloomberg (Edney, 6/25/20), The New York Times (6/25/20)The Hill (Kelley, 6/25/20)

Medical Xpress: Pregnancy and COVID-19: What are the risks?
If you are pregnant, you recently delivered a baby or you are breast-feeding, you’re probably concerned about the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on you and your baby. Here’s what you need to know. (6/30/20)

The Washington Post: Pregnant in a pandemic
How four women are preparing to bring children into a world facing a health crisis, a recession and racial turmoil. (Lab, 6/30/20)

The Washington Post Live: Maternal Health in America
The health of mothers and infants is top of mind for advocates as COVID-19 poses a new, unexpected threat to maternal care in the United States. During this unprecedented time, the mental health of new mothers is of particular concern as the number of postpartum depression cases are on the rise. (6/30/20)

ProPublica: Agonizing Lag in Coronavirus Research Puts Pregnant Women and Babies at Risk
After months of asserting pregnant women were not at high risk for the coronavirus, the CDC recently released a study with sobering findings for expectant mothers. Experts say the data gaps are almost as worrisome as the results. (Martin, 7/6/20)

Forbes: The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Continue To Impact Women’s Reproductive Health For Years
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted women’s reproductive health in many ways and in all likelihood will continue to do so for years to come. (Fox, 7/7/20)

The New York Times: Why We Still Don’t Know Enough About Covid-19 and Pregnancy
More than six months into the pandemic there’s still a lot we don’t know about how the coronavirus affects pregnant women and babies. (Caron, 7/10/20)

MedScape: Few COVID-19 Studies Include Pregnant Women, Prompting Outcry
When a pregnant woman walked into his office with COVID-19 symptoms, Jim Thornton, MD, knew he wanted to enroll her in a clinical trial to see what medication could help her. (Boerner, 6/10/20)

U.S. New & World Report: When COVID-19 Strikes in Pregnancy, C-Section Tied to Worse Outcomes
Pregnant women with COVID-19 who deliver by cesarean section may be at greater risk for complications that affect them and their babies, new research suggests. (Reinberg, 6/12/20)

What we know: Impact and Vulnerability Contd.

Salon: Premature births have gone down during the pandemic — and doctors are baffled as to why

Amid the pandemic, premature births have dropped precipitously around the world. A few scientists have theories. (Rozsa, 7/21/20)

Science Magazine: Why pregnant women face special risks from COVID-19
Afshar, a high-risk obstetrician at Ronald Reagan University of California (UC), Los Angeles, Medical Center, understands the women’s concerns better than most: Her first child is due in October. (Wadman, 8/4/20)

WTOP: Science not yet certain about COVID-19 risks for moms-to-be
National recommendations for expectant moms related to COVID-19 are changing every few weeks, according to a Northern Virginia physician who wants women to be extra-vigilant about preventing infection. (King, 8/4/20)


The Washington Post: Some researchers and politicians call for pregnant women to be included in coronavirus vaccine testing
As Washington spends billions of dollars to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine, a number of medical researchers and Democrats are calling on Congress to guarantee that pregnant women are involved in federally supported trials. (Luthra, 7/15/20)

Reuters: Large U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trials will exclude pregnant women for now
The first two COVID-19 vaccines to enter large-scale U.S. trials will not be tested in pregnant women this year, raising questions about how this vulnerable population will be protected from the coronavirus, researchers told Reuters. (Steenhuysen, 7/31/20)

STAT: Will Covid-19 vaccines be safe for children and pregnant women? The data, so far, are lacking
Vaccines are always tested first in healthy adults, a population that is most likely to provide a clear picture of whether a vaccine triggers protection. (Branswell, 8/19/20)

Transmission to Infant

The Washington Post: Study results suggest pregnant women may be able to transmit coronavirus to their babies
Researchers found the coronavirus and antibodies against it in the umbilical cord blood, breast milk, placentas and vaginas of some pregnant infected women, another suggestion that the virus can be passed to fetuses and newborns, according to results of a small study released Thursday. (Bernstein, 7/9/20)
Also featured in Today (Associated Press, 7/10/20), The Los Angeles Times (Associated Press, 7/10/20), The New York Times (Associated Press, 7/9/20)

Business Insider: Doctors in France have found what they say is the world’s first recorded case of an unborn child contracting COVID-19 from their mother inside the womb
Doctors in France have reported what they say is the first confirmed case of an unborn baby contracting COVID-19 from their mother while still in the womb. (Bostock, 7/13/20)

Salon: Researchers believe coronavirus could infect fetuses
A small study suggests that mother-to-fetus transmission is possible. (Rozsa, 7/11/20)

Forbes: Covid-19 Coronvairus May Be Transmitted Via The Womb During Pregnancy
What does the Covid-19 coronavirus have in common with the guy who talks about his genital itch during a dinner party? Both don’t know boundaries. (Lee, 7/13/20)

The New York Times: Baby Was Infected With Coronavirus in Womb, Study Reports
Researchers said the case strongly suggests that Covid-19 can be transmitted in utero. Both the mother and baby have recovered. (Belluckr, 7/14/20)
National Institutes of Health: Placenta lacks major molecules used by SARS-CoV-2 virus to cause infection
NIH study may help explain why the virus has rarely been found in fetuses or newborns of women with COVID-19. (7/14/20)
WTOP: Can a pregnant woman spread the coronavirus to her fetus?
It’s possible, but it seems to be relatively rare and scientists think they know why that is. (AP, 7/16/20)

Refinery 29: A Baby Was Infected With Coronavirus In The Womb
Some of the most frequently asked questions of the COVID-19 pandemic have been about how the virus affects pregnant people and their children. (Gulino, 7/17/20)

Bloomberg: Mothers Are Unlikely to Transmit Virus to Newborns, Study Says
Breastfeeding safe if hygiene measures followed: U.S. study. (Wilson, 7/23/20)

Bloomberg: Great News About Births During Covid-19
Pandemic shutdowns saw huge decreases in babies born prematurely. There are lessons in this. (Kluth, 7/31/20)

Pregnant and Working in the Pandemic

ProPublica: “I’m Terrified”: Pregnant Health Care Workers at Risk for Coronavirus Are Being Forced to Keep Working
Pregnant doctors, nurses and medical support staff have continued going to work, whether they want to or not, even as the latest research on coronavirus and pregnancy has caused a new sense of worry. (Martin & Yeung, 4/1/20)

Vogue: 3 Health-Care Workers on Being Pregnant in the Time of Coronavirus
Ana was on the tail end of a series of mostly 12-hour workdays—there had been one grueling 24-hour Saturday shift—as an OB-GYN in a medium-sized hospital in the northeastern United States. (Bala, 4/22/20)

The New York Times: What Rights Do Pregnant Workers Have in a Pandemic?
Anna’s obstetrician also recommended that she work from home going forward — pregnant women’s immune systems are already taxed, and experts can’t say with certainty how the coronavirus might affect them. (Grose, 5/1/20)

Vox: “I am very scared”: What it’s like for pregnant essential workers in the pandemic
Across the country, pregnant workers are worried about protections and fighting for their rights. (Covert, 6/15/20)

The New York Times: A Pregnant Doctor Navigates COVID-19 Fight in Low Income Los Angeles
After putting a coronavirus patient onto a ventilator to help him to breathe, Dr. Zafia Anklesaria noted to herself that her baby never kicked during emergency procedures. (Reuters, 5/26/20)

New America: Crisis Conversations: Working pregnant in the time of COVID
Pregnant workers already face discrimination on the job, Before the pandemic struck, the United States was the only advanced nation without a national paid maternity or parental leave policy. (Schulte, 7/24/20)

Personal Accounts/Individual Stories

Washington Post: I’m about to deliver a baby in the middle of a pandemic. I’m not panicking — yet.
There’s no guide for “What to Expect When You’re Expecting During a Pandemic” on bookshelves — not that many of us could even get to a local bookstore to buy one in the age of social distancing — but it’s something a lot of us could really use right now. (Wellbank, 3/27/20)

Refinery29: What It’s Like To Be Pregnant In The Coronavirus Pandemic
For those who are pregnant, the unknowns of the coronavirus outbreak are especially stressful. (Longman, 4/1/20)

WBUR: ‘It’s Frightening’: How New Moms Are Experiencing The Coronavirus Pandemic
“Being a new mom is scary enough. The fear of something happening to yourself or your child is much higher because this virus is so infectious.” (Walters, 4/5/20)

PBS News Hour: What’s it like to be pregnant amid a pandemic? New and prospective mothers share stories
Across the U.S., expectant parents and those who have recently given birth are confronting an unanticipated layer of stress due to coronavirus. (Nawaz, 4/6/20)

The New York Times: Two Peruvian Women Diagnosed With COVID-19 Give Birth to Healthy Babies-Doctor
Two pregnant women diagnosed with the new coronavirus in Peru have given birth to babies who have tested negative for the disease, a hospital in the capital Lima said on Tuesday. (Reuters, 4/7/20)

Yahoo Lifestyle: A Mom Shares What It Was Like Giving Birth in an NYC Hospital Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak
Tovah Haim, a mom of two and the founder of Bodily – a product-based company dedicated to postpartum care and education – recently welcomed a healthy baby girl amid the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City. (Moroney, 4/8/20)

NBC San Diego: Pregnant and Hospitalized With Coronavirus: A Story of Recovery
For coronavirus patients on ventilators, the odds of recovering can be low. One pregnant San Diego woman not only made it out of the intensive care unit after being intubated, but is now safe at home with her soon-to-be family of four. (Rodriguez & McCullough, 4/13/20)

Huffington Post: What It’s Like To Give Birth In The Epicenter Of A Pandemic
Hospitals have barred support partners from postpartum units, leaving many new moms totally on their own. (Pearson, 4/18/20)

USA Today: I was panicking over coronavirus. Then I heard my baby’s heartbeat.
Bringing a baby into a pandemic-plagued world can be terrifying, but a steady heartbeat reminds us life goes on. (Amer, 4/22/20)

InStyle: I Gave Birth to a Preemie During a Pandemic
I remember being pregnant and staying up all night looking at the news and wondering if my due date was going to align with the peak of coronavirus cases where I live, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Ritter & Norkin, 5/4/20)

Refinery 29: The First Seven Days: A Weeklong Diary About Giving Birth In A Pandemic
If you, too, are making meals out of old cereal, abandoning screen-time limits, and, you know, are occasionally terrified about what the future holds, you’re not alone. No Bad Moms is a series about not just lowering the bar, but ditching it completely. (5/6/20)

The New York Times: Pregnant in a Pandemic? These 5 Mothers of Newborns Have Advice
Try to laugh, trust your own judgment and concentrate on your baby. (Sinha, 5/10/20)

KTLA 5: 134 pregnant women tested positive for COVID-19 in L.A. County but none of their babies had the virus
COVID-19 has hit all walks of life in Los Angeles County, from wealthy enclaves to working-class neighborhoods, as well as prisons and nursing homes. (Blume, 5/11/20)

The Cut: I’m 8 Months Pregnant and My Husband Tested Positive’
“If we’re both presumed to have it, who’s going to care for the baby?” (Schwiegershausen, 5/11/20)

The Cut: I Was 7 Months Pregnant in Prison. Then COVID-19 Hit.
Even in non-pandemic times, expecting mothers are not treated well behind bars. (Chapin, 5/27/20)

INSIDER: I spent my first trimester of pregnancy sheltering in place at home — these are the items that helped comfort me while struggling with isolation
I navigated my fears surrounding COVID-19 while also dealing with nausea, fatigue, and insomnia — and had to hide it from nearly everyone I know. (Hochberg, 5/29/20)

Center for Health Journalism: As a high-risk obstetrician, I’m used to making tough decisions. Then pregnant women showed up with COVID-19.
I’m a high-risk obstetrician, or maternal-fetal medicine specialist, working with pregnant women in some of the poorest ZIP codes in New York City. I usually take care of preterm labor, diabetes, kidney infections and preeclampsia, things that happen frequently to pregnant women. (Karkowsky, 6/1/20)

The New York Times: Her Virus Test Came Back Positive. 3 Hours Later, She Had a Baby.
The pandemic has reshaped the experience of childbirth in New York hospitals, adding more tension into what is an already uncertain event. (Van Syckle, 6/23/20)

The Cut: I’m 8 Months Pregnant and My Husband Tested Positive’
“If we’re both presumed to have it, who’s going to care for the baby?” (Schwiegershausen, 5/11/20)

KPBS: 2nd Pregnant Woman In California Dies From COVID-19
A 32-year-old pregnant woman from Southern California has died from the coronavirus but her child survived, authorities said Friday. (Associate Press, 7/11/20)

KTLA: News anchor’s entire family contracts COVID-19 days after she gives birth
A North Carolina news anchor shared her story on social media after her entire family contracted COVID-19. (Multiple Authors, 8/3/20)

The Washington Post: A pregnant woman with covid-19 was dying. With one decision, her doctors saved three lives.
At first, we were told that if you were sick, then you needed to wear a mask, but if you didn’t have a cough or a fever, you were fine. I wasn’t around anybody who seemed to have covid. But I did continue to go to work in March. (Gibson, 8/6/20)

Anxiety and Depression

The New York Times: Virus Disrupts Pregnancy Plans, Raises Anxiety and Questions
Some pregnant women fear giving birth with no loved ones by their side. Others worry about getting sick with COVID-19 and not being able to hold their newborns. (AP, 3/31/20)

VICE: Having a New Baby Is Hard. Doing It During Coronavirus Is a Nightmare
Isolation, a lack of in-person support, and the looming threat of job insecurity have created a perfect storm in which postpartum mood and anxiety disorders can thrive. (Zucker, 5/6/20)

The Washington Post: Pregnant women are urged to avoid stress. What happens when a pandemic makes that impossible?
My main concern while sick was my pregnancy. Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance that transmission of the coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, I knew there were still many unknowns. (Ali, 5/11/20)

CPR: Coronavirus Is Stressing Pregnant Women And New Mothers Out. These Researchers Are Trying to Understand How to Help
Rebecca Green of Denver gave birth to her second daughter in early February before COVID-19 swept through Colorado. (Cleveland, 5/22/20)

The New York Times: Experts Fear Increase in Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders
New and expecting moms are facing pandemic-related fears on top of social isolation. (Lakshmin, 5/27/20)

LAist: Giving Birth In A Pandemic Can Be Isolating. It Doesn’t Have To Be
Even in normal times, there are plenty of stressors for expectant moms. Now add to that the concerns over giving birth in the time of coronavirus. (Dale, 5/28/20)

The Orange County Register: Pregnancy and stress: Health strategies for expectant mothers
Growing and nourishing a human life for nine months tends to include a few stressful moments: health checkups, screenings, blood tests, future anxieties causing sleepless nights and the possibility of physical trauma from labor and delivery. (Jones, 6/18/20)

The Washington Post: Coronavirus placing high stress on new, expecting moms and raising risks for mental health issues
“Giving birth is already such an overwhelming process, but it’s heightened when you’re surrounded by doctors equipped with face shields, when the nurses are wearing multiple masks and are scared to come too close to you,” says Root, who believes she contracted the coronavirus at her grandmother’s funeral in mid-March. (Leffler, 6/21/20)

Psychology Today: Pregnant During A Pandemic?
Mental health of pregnant and postpartum women during COVID-19. (Koenen, 7/22/20)

NBC News: Pregnant in a pandemic: How COVID-19 stress may affect growing babies
A small survey found that stress among pregnant women has tripled since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. (Edwards, 8/16/20)