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Cleveland Clinic utilizing telemedicine with pregnant moms, doctor warns about COVID-19 transmission

Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 23:24:10-04

CLEVELAND — Autumn Dickerson is pregnant with her first child.

The Hudson resident and her husband Matt are expecting to deliver a little girl in about seven weeks. So far, she said, her pregnancy has been a breeze.

“This is the first girl in our family," Dickerson said via FaceTime. "You get pregnant and just think, 'Okay, everything's going to go great. Nothing's going to go wrong' and then a pandemic happens."

Over the last two weeks Dickerson and her family have been faced with a new reality.

“I’m taking it one day at a time. It could get worse by the time she comes along or it could get better. So to stress about it now is something I’ve tried to avoid doing," she said.

Dr. Tosin Goje recommended her patients to follow the same advice.

“I know it’s a very anxiety provoking thing," Dr. Goje said. "I know this is not the normal."

Dr. Goje is an Obstetrician Gynecologist who also leads the Reproductive Infectious Diseases Program at Cleveland Clinic. She addressed the possibility of babies contracting the virus from their mothers.

"Most transmission that has been documented has not been vertical, meaning we’ve not had any mother to child in utero transmission," she said. "What we’re worried about is what’s called the horizontal transmission. So anything we can do to for these tiny babies to prevent them from getting it from us, the adults, we have to do safely," Dr. Goje said.

The OBGYN also addressed policies hospitals are putting into place regarding the restriction of support persons and separation after birth.

“The hospital and your doctors will discuss separation, temporary separation, with you before it happens," she said. "It's a case-by-case basis, even state-by-state."

Dickerson said even though these are policies she may have to follow in seven weeks, she and her family understand a lot can change.

"Whatever’s best for the baby, even if that’s devastating at the time. We want to make sure the baby is healthy," Dickerson said.

Dr. Goje also recommended pregnant mother's call ahead before entering any hospitals or doctor's offices. The doctor said the Clinic, as well as other hospitals around the country, are utilizing telemedicine for routine checkups for low-risk mothers.

"I think some people prefer it. You’re in the comfort of your house and you’re able to speak freely with your provider," Dr. Goje said. "I think you can actually educate your patients better. We teach moms how to check their blood pressure and check for the baby's heartbeat. Two areas we check during a routine visit."

For Dickerson, she said each day and week bring new challenges and she and her husband are going to take whatever life throws at them.

"I mean, at least she's going to have a story when it comes down to it all," Dickerson said.

Dr. Goje advised pregnant mothers to continue social distancing and hand washing as often as they can.

“Please just think about that teeny tiny bundle of joy and making sure that baby is COVID free," she said.