BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Surgical technologist Brittany Hartwell never missed a day of work while pregnant. When she got sick, she thought her symptoms were because she was an expectant mother.

What You Need To Know

  • OBGYN: In some severe COVID-19 cases, pregnant women may deliver early

  • Brittany Hartwell ended up delivering her baby 13 weeks early

  • CDC: More than 15,000 women have tested positive for COVID-19 while pregnant

As her symptoms got worse, she got checked out for COVID-19 and tested positive.

“We wore the eye goggles, wore masks, and changed shoes. I did every precaution,” Hartwell said. “I never thought it would have had COVID. I (just) thought, 'I'm pregnant and tired.' ”

Hartwell says she was the first pregnant COVID-19-positive patient admitted into AdventHealth.

Data on how COVID-19 affects pregnancy is still limited. A recent study in South Korea said coronavirus during pregnancy "can be associated with adverse neonatal morbidities." Researchers in the United States are looking into whether blood clots in the placenta could cause issues with fetus growth.

UCLA Medical Center OB-GYN Dr. Rashmi Rao says in pregnant women, getting COVID-19 is expected as the pandemic continues, but do not panic.

“The majority of women who get COVID do OK having mild illness. About 15 percent of women can have more severe illness,” Dr. Rao said.

Rao said that even a lower percentage of women develop more severe complications.

“Women who get severe disease or (are) critical, we have seen those women deliver earlier,” she said.

Hartwell was part of that low percentage, and her health was fading rapidly, so she had to be rushed to a hospital.

“All my (health) levels were in the negative. I was hardly responsive,” she said.

Hartwell's daughter, Rowan Evelyn Rose Hartwell, was born 13 weeks premature on June 10, with the help of a C-section.

“She was born with a stage 4 bilateral brain bleed and very sick. Nobody thought she was going to make it,” Hartwell said.

But she did, making slow and steady improvements, but she's still in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“When it seems like no light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to wake up every day, know that it was going to get better,” Hartwell said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15,000 women have tested positive for COVID-19 while pregnant in the U.S., with 4,000 hospitalizations and 37 deaths.