What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus If You Are Pregnant

Gerald Lombardo
Posted by Gerald Lombardo
Updated on

Based on available information, pregnant people seem to have the same risk as adults who are not pregnant.

However, we do know that:

  • Pregnant people have changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections.

  • Pregnant people have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza.

  • Avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus.

  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

Pregnant people should protect themselves from COVID-19

Risks to the pregnancy and to the baby

Pregnant people have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza.

It is always important for pregnant people to protect themselves from illnesses.

Mother-to-child transmission

  • 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.

  • Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants.

  • You, along with your family and healthcare 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 the 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.

Breastfeeding if you have COVID-19

If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

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