CLIVE, Iowa — Covid-19 transmission rates are low throughout the state right now but some obsetricians in the Des Moines metro are choosing to monitor expecant mothers a little closer who have already had the virus.

Dr. Melinda Hansen, an OBGYN at Unity Point’s Clive and Waukee office, says doctors at the practice are taking extra measures for pregnant women who have experienced symptomatic COVID-19.

“There have been emerging studies that have suggested patients who have had symptomatic COVID could be at risk of pre – term labor, preeclampsia and unfortunately stillbirth during pregnancy.”

Hansen adds, that same study suggests the virus doesn’t impact the unborn baby but rather mother’s placenta, an organ formed during pregnancy that serves as a blood and life source for the baby.

As a result, doctors at this particular clinic are suggesting women get an ultrasound in their third trimester to check the baby’s growth, the fluid around the baby and the placenta. In healthy, low – risk pregnancies, ultrasounds are normally offered only in the first and second trimesters. Dr. Hansen says based on the findings of the third ultrasounds, closer monitoring of the baby may be needed until it’s born.

“We would see the patient more often, do more frequent testing like ultrasounds, non-stress tests and even sometimes we recommend delivering the baby early. All of it just depends on the particular patient and the particular scenario,” she explains.

Doctors say the COVID – 19 vaccine is the safest most effective way for pregnant women to prevent severe symptoms of the virus. Not all obstetricians are offering an additional ultrasound for expectant mothers, it is advised women speak with their providers if they have any questions or concerns.