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COVID-19: Pregnant and Concerned? What You Need to Know

COVID-19: Pregnant and Concerned? What You Need to Know

If you’re pregnant, you may have questions about the impact of COVID-19 on you and your unborn child.

Research is underway, and data are limited, but currently, there is no evidence to indicate pregnant women are at higher risk of severe illness than the general population.

Because of changes in pregnancy, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some respiratory infections. So, it is important to take some precautions and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty breathing) to your health care provider.

Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth, a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread. A very small number of babies have tested positive for the virus shortly after birth. However, it is unknown if these babies got the virus before or after birth. The virus has not been detected in amniotic fluid, breastmilk or other maternal samples.

Breastfeeding if you have COVID-19

  • Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants.
  • You, along with your family and health care providers, should decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding
  • In limited studies, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk; however, we do not know for sure whether mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus via breast milk.
  • If you are sick and choose to direct breastfeed:
    • Wear a facemask and wash your hands before each feeding.
  • If you are sick and choose to express breast milk:
    • Express breast milk to establish and maintain milk supply.
    • A dedicated breast pump should be provided.
    • Wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk.
    • Follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use, cleaning all parts that come into contact with breast milk.
    • If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, March of Dimes