Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Expectant mothers are facing some daunting new realities amid the coronavirus outbreak.

What's happening: Some doctors, especially in areas that haven't seen large numbers of cases yet, are encouraging women to induce their labor. That can help keep mothers and babies out of the hospital later, when the risk of a coronavirus infection will be higher, and also helps free up beds that may be needed for COVID-19 patients.

  • Hospitals in coronavirus hotspots also have banned partners and doulas from delivery units, to keep everyone's exposure limited.

Yes, but: Several doctors told Axios an induction isn't always a good idea. In some cases, it can prolong labor, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists doesn't recommend it before the 39th week of pregnancy.

  • "Inducing them now doesn't mean that in a week you're suddenly out of pregnant patients," said Abimbola Aina, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Doing things without an obstetrical indication is probably not the safest thing to do at the moment."

Family planning is also taking a hit, as hospitals temporarily suspend procedures such as in vitro fertilization.

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Updated 3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Global cases top 18 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of novel coronavirus cases surged past 18 million globally on Sunday night, Johns Hopkins data shows.

By the numbers: More than 688,300 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide. Over 10.6 million have recovered.

It's not over when the vaccine arrives

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The first coronavirus vaccine may arrive soon, but it’s unlikely to be the knockout punch you may be hoping for.

Why it matters: The end of this global pandemic almost certainly rests with a vaccine. Experts caution, however, that it’s important to have realistic expectations about how much the first vaccines across the finish line will — and won’t — be able to accomplish.

Scoop: White House launches regional media push to COVID hot spots

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

To show President Trump's "renewed focus" on combating COVID-19, the White House is launching a heavy regional media campaign in states that are coronavirus hot spots to educate the public on the importance of following mitigation measures, White House officials tell Axios.

Driving the news: The White House will be blanketing designated marketing areas throughout the Southwest and Midwest with White House doctors and administration officials on air.