Avera Medical Minute: Caring for COVID positive expectant moms

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 4:47 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Being pregnant during a pandemic can be stressful. Kindergarten teacher Erica Karl took every precaution but wasn’t a surprise however when she tested positive for COVID-19.

She thought of how this could impact her life at 28 weeks pregnant.

“I have a toddler I have a husband I have a family. I’m pregnant,” said Karl.

Erica left a voicemail for her OBGYN, telling her of the COVID positive test, just to keep her informed.

“I was kind of shocked but pleasantly you know shocked; a call from a nurse. Later that day, and she explained the home monitoring program,” said Karl.

Avera OBGYN Dr. Kimberlee McKay wants expectant mothers with COVID-19 to receive an extra level of care.

“By the time she had tested, we had six months of COVID under our belt,” said Dr. McKay.

The Avera at Home kit can help.

“A scale, an oxygen monitor a blood pressure cuff, an iPad. So all of this, whenever I would take my vitals, it would. It was connected to Bluetooth, and it would update it right on the iPad in real-time so the nurse could see it,” said Karl.

The beauty of the kit is that no matter where she lives, a pregnant woman can have her vitals taken and reported.

“Where you live, should not determine the kind of care you get nor the outcome of the disease that you have,” said McKay.

Oxygen levels are especially important during pregnancy. With a growing baby, it can already be hard to breathe. A complication of coronavirus could make it worse.

“If you have some critical values, that spins that notification, up to the team member all the way up to the top of their list so that team member through the help of the software knows which patients they need to call first,” said McKay.

And of the 5,500 pregnancies across the region in the last 12 months, the COVID positive Mom’s are watched even closer.

“We’ve monitored around 600 pregnant woman women in this program,” said McKay.

The program not only monitors Moms but gives them assurance.

“One day at a time, self-care, ask for help from your husband or significant other,” said Karl.

While many people spend more time at home during the pandemic, families appear to be getting larger.

“I’ve looked at numbers for like, February, March, April, looks like...we’re gonna have a baby boom,” said McKay.

The Karl family is expecting their baby at the end of March.

“She’s kind of the start of the baby boom,” said McKay.

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