Pregnancy

Pregnant Woman Diagnosed With Coronavirus Fights For Her Life

Ashley Duque has been in the ICU for more than a week fighting for her life and the life of her unborn child

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Ashley Duque, her husband Diego Duque and their 2-year-old daughter Ana have been looking forward to welcoming another member to their family.

Everything was going well until three weeks ago, when Ashley Duque tested positive for the coronavirus at about 15 weeks pregnant.

Initially, she was sent home to self-isolate, but a week into her diagnosis she still wasn't better. She decided to go to the hospital and was admitted to an intensive care unit at a Kaiser Permanente San Diego hospital.

Her health quickly declined.

Her husband Diego Duque told NBC 7 San Diego that doctors said they would have to put Ashley in a medically induced coma to try and save her life.

I have never been more scared in my life. When I spoke with the doctors, they were able to assure me that the virus is not transferable through the umbilical cord. The baby is doing OK, and has a regular healthy heartbeat.

Diego Duque

Dr. Christine Sterling, a board-certified OBGYN, explained pregnant women tend to get sick easier than women who aren't pregnant.

In fact, when they do get sick they usually get a bad case of whatever ailment they have, whether it is the flu or a cold.

The fetus usually continues to develop normally as long as the mother does well. She recommends pregnant women avoid going to public places, especially grocery stores and pharmacies.

"If there is another healthy adult that can do those things, I would recommend that the other person do them," Sterling said.

In pregnancy we are portentially more vulerable to contracting COVID-19. We are potentially going to get sicker than if we weren't pregnant.

Dr. Christine Sterling, OBGYN

Diego Duque hasn't been able to see or speak to his wife since she was hospitalized. He has essentially become a single father overnight to their 2-year-old daughter.

He says explaining to Ana where her mom is can be heartbreaking.

"It is so hard. I just tell her she is asleep," explained Diego Duque.

On Saturday, Diego Duque received a glimmer of hope — a FaceTime call from Ashley. She had recently been extubated and could not talk, but just seeing her face was everything he needed.

Her to be able to pick up the phone and to call was the biggest sigh of relief of my whole entire life.

Diego Duque

Diego Duque says his wife's doctors believe she may be able to leave the intensive care unit by Sunday.

She still has a long road before she is able to go home, but for now, he is focused on their future together as a family of four.

Duque family stand together
Diego Duque

NBC 7 San Diego followed up with Ashley Duque who reports she is recovering safely at home.

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