By Edward K. Chapnick

Caring for someone who is pregnant and is suspected or confirmed to have Ebola is a difficult situation. And if you’re the patient or you’re in that caregiver role, the serious mix of circumstances can be downright terrifying. So, everyone — especially if you’re in West Africa — needs to be prepared.

Pregnant women aren’t necessarily more susceptible to contracting Ebola. However, pregnant women who do have Ebola are at greater risk than average for severe illness, death, fetal loss, and pregnancy-associated hemorrhaging.

Here are some other tips on Ebola and pregnancy:

  • Make sure that you wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE is more important than ever when treating a pregnant woman. With so much blood during delivery, it’s imperative that any professional treating any pregnant woman – regardless of Ebola status — in the affected areas, immediately put on full PPE, just in case.

  • Use full disinfection protocols. This includes getting sprayed down with chlorine after the shift.

  • If you’re a healthcare worker, ask the pregnant woman about her travel history on intake. If she has exposure and starts to show Ebola-like symptoms, isolate her immediately. Also, all healthcare providers for her should wear PPE.

  • If your patient has an exposure history and shows symptoms, report to the health department immediately.

  • If you’re pregnant and have Ebola, healthcare personnel will monitor you closely for early hemorrhaging and spontaneous abortion — both of which pose high risk for women who are pregnant.