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COVID-19 and Pregnancy

COVID-19, coronavirus, pregnancy, early labor

Researchers are constantly uncovering new information about COVID-19 as they rush to find a treatment and a vaccine for this deadly virus. There are many questions about how it may affect a pregnant woman and her fetus; honestly, it is too early to tell how it affects a fetus compared to the mother.

New reports have been trickling in from all over the country with some women saying it caused premature births and/or fetal mortality, while other women say it did not seem to have any effect on their fetus or pregnancy. There have also been concerns about breastfeeding if you have contracted the coronavirus. However, researchers have not found enough information about whether or not it can pass through breastmilk; according to the CDC, there have not been traces of the virus in the amniotic fluids or breastmilk, but this research is still early.

Reports of Childbirth and COVID-19

Currently, there are two known cases of women who have had a baby after contracting the coronavirus, one of which is tragic.

The first case was Mallory Pease in Michigan. She was nine months pregnant when she contracted the virus just a week before her daughter, Olivia, was born on March 22. Since Pease had contracted the virus, she and her husband only got to spend five minutes with Olivia before she was taken to the isolation nursery and Pease to the COVID-19 unit.

She could only see her newborn through FaceTime calls for the next four days while she recovered from the virus and the birth; the baby tested negative for the virus. Pease was reunited with her newborn once she had recovered from COVID-19.

The second case was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on April 6. The mother, who has not been identified, had tested positive for the coronavirus and had to be put on a ventilator. Shortly after that, she went into premature labor at 22 weeks gestation, and the baby did not survive. While it is unconfirmed that COVID-19 was the cause of the mother going into labor when she did, her doctor believes the virus was the cause. It is important to note that the baby did not test positive for the virus.

“Had [the mother] not been COVID-19 positive, had not required ventilator support, had not had the shortness of breath, the hypoxia that is associated with the virus, likely she would not have gone into preterm labor and there would have been a different outcome,”  East Baton Rouge Parish coroner Beau Clark, M.D., said in a press conference.

Symptoms of COVID-19 Linked to Potential Premature Births

Recent studies show that some of the more minor cases of the coronavirus had only gastrointestinal symptoms. About 25 percent of the patients in the study had “diarrhea and other digestive symptoms were the only symptoms seen in mild COVID-19 cases, and those patients sought medical care later than those with respiratory symptoms.” This brings to light a new symptom to watch out for beyond coughing and having a high fever. With only gastrointestinal upset, others may not have gone to seek medical care, because this was not a known symptom of the virus. Of the patients in this study, 25 percent only had gastrointestinal symptoms, 33 percent had digestive upset and respiratory symptoms, and the remainder had only respiratory symptoms; 33 percent of those with digestive symptoms did not have a fever. One in five of the patients with digestive upset had diarrhea lasting from one to 14 days, averaging about five days.

The problem with this new symptom being uncovered is that “Persistent diarrhea may cause irritation of the uterus, which can lead to excessive uterine contractions,” so the diarrhea that averages five days in length may be enough to trigger premature labor.



Hollier, Lisa. “Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding.” ACOG, 8 Apr. 2020,

Knef, Sam. “Presumed First COVID-19 Patient to Give Birth in Michigan and Baby Back Home, Healthy.” WHAM, WHAM, 10 Apr. 2020,

O’Kane, Caitlin. “Louisiana Baby Dies after Mom with COVID-19 Goes into Premature Labor.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 7 Apr. 2020,

“Pregnancy and Breastfeeding.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 Apr. 2020,

Preidt, Robert. “Mild COVID-19 Often Only Shows Gastro Symptoms.” WebMD, WebMD, 1 Apr. 2020,

“Preterm Labor – Know the Signs and Symptoms.” Preterm Labor | Signs and Symptoms, When to Call Your Doctor,

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Sleep Tips for Pregnancy

Sleep Tips For Pregnancy Image

Pregnancy is the beginning of exciting changes in your life and body. Unfortunately, each trimester comes with unique sleep challenges that you’ll need to address. We’ve laid out some sleep tips that are helpful during pregnancy and after along with a break down of the sleep challenges you’ll face in each trimester.

Sleep Tips for Anytime

Sleep Environment

A sleep-supportive bedroom should be dark and quiet. You might need blackout curtains or a white noise machine to reduce outside distractions. Pregnancy can also cause you to feel too hot so try to keep the temperature between 60 to 68 degrees.

Bedtime and Bedtime Routine

The human body loves consistency so try to keep a regular bedtime and create a relaxing bedtime routine for yourself. Meditation, gentle yoga, and a warm bath are a few ideas you might want to consider.

Turn Off Screens

Electronic screens emit a bright light that suppresses sleep hormones. Turn them off two to three hours before bed to stay on track for your bedtime.

Sleep Challenges by Trimester

First Trimester

Once you get pregnant, your progesterone levels skyrocket causing daytime sleepiness. Though the fetus is still small at this point, nighttime bathroom visits start because implantation puts extra pressure on the bladder. Additionally, you may experience pelvic pain and tender breasts that make it hard to get comfortable at night.
First Trimester Sleep Tips
  • Nap: A short 15 to 30-minute nap won’t interfere with your sleep at night and can counteract the fatiguing effects of progesterone.
  • Limit Your Afternoon Fluid Intake: Stop drinking fluids about four hours before bed to prevent nighttime disruptions. However, make sure you stay well hydrated the rest of the day.
  • Address Morning Sickness: Morning sickness can strike any time, including bedtime. An empty stomach can aggravate symptoms so keep some crackers or pretzels on hand

Second Trimester

In general, the second trimester is when you’ll have the easiest time sleeping because fatigue and morning sickness subside. You now enter the world of heartburn and leg cramps.

Second Trimester Sleep Tips
  • Avoid Acidic and Spicy Foods: Acidic foods like lemons and tomatoes are common culprits of heartburn, but spicy foods can be triggers too. Watch your chocolate, caffeine, and carbonated beverage consumption as well.
  • Stay Upright After Eating: If possible stay upright for four hours after eating to prevent sleep disruptions. You may need to sleep with a pillow behind your back to keep that upright position during the night.
  • Stretch Leg Cramps: Your partner can help you stretch out leg cramps or you can use the wall. If you use the wall, make sure clear a path before bed so you don’t trip in the dark.

Third Trimester

During the third trimester, leg cramps continue and the need to urinate increases due to the growing pressure on your bladder. Pelvic and back pain become a comfort issue at this point. Twenty percent of pregnant women also develop sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While restless leg syndrome will disappear after pregnancy and poses little risk to your baby, if you suspect OSA, characterized by loud snoring and pauses in your breathing, talk to your physician. The hormone surges that accompany OSA can be harmful to your baby.

Third Trimester Sleep Tips
  • Reduce Nighttime Fluids: Reduce your fluid intake starting four hours before bed.
  • Iron-rich Foods and Prenatal Vitamins: Restless leg syndrome has been linked to iron deficiency so make sure you’re taking your prenatal vitamins and increase your intake of iron-rich foods.
  • Sleep on Your Left Side: Sleeping on your left side increases circulation to your baby and improves your breathing and circulation. You can also try sleeping with a pillow between your legs to reduce discomfort.


You might have to make some habit or schedule changes to get more sleep, but it’s worth it. Adequate sleep will allow your body to focus on the important work of growing another human being. We hope these sleep tips assist you during your pregnancy and beyond!

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OPEN Forum

Excerpt From Interview with Open Forum:

As a high school and college softball player, Jill Bigelow received top care to keep her body in top shape. Delivering her three children was the hardest events she has ever put her body through—and yet, she found that support for recovering moms, whose bodies suffer major trauma at birth, had very little post-birth support. Bigelow received more care as an athlete then as a new mom. That realization spawned a business, PELV-ICE, and a device, Mama Strut, aimed at supporting, in a physical sense, the bodies of moms who just gave birth. The Mama Strut is a soft brace for a woman’s midsection and pelvic area that can also accommodate hot or cold packs.

1. Why did you start your business?

I started PELV-ICE, like many entrepreneurs do, after experiencing a problem that did not have a solution that I thought was acceptable or effective. I was an athlete and have experienced many skeletal and soft tissue injuries and always got great orthopedic sports medicine care, including supportive braces, ice and heat therapy and physical therapy to aid my recovery. But after experiencing the most significant injury of my life—childbirth—I was given nothing that resembled a modern solution. At the time the only thing available were home remedies like a frozen diaper, ice in a glove, mesh underwear and belly wraps—all which can offer some relief but none are neat, easy, discrete or really address the seriousness of the injury to the pelvic floor that all new mamas experience to differing degrees.

My frustration led me to research and then invent an effective solution for pelvic trauma recovery and Mama Strut by PELV-ICE was born. I named our first product line Mama Strut because a strut is an engineering device that resists pressure. It also means to walk with a proud gait.

 Read more on OPEN Forum