Pregnancy and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know About COVID-19
We want parents to have the most reliable information about COVID-19, so we will update this article with new information as it becomes available.
Pregnancy and COVID-19
Pregnant women’s bodies undergo changes that can cause a bit more susceptibility to some viral infections, but it’s not clear whether or not that includes COVID-19. Currently there are no recommendations specific to pregnant women regarding the evaluation or management of COVID-19. Of course, to be safe, if you’re pregnant take all the usual precautions, like tons of hand washing and steering clear of crowded public places and sick people.
At this time, there are several studies underway about how COVID-19 affects the babies inside too. Some suggest that the virus can cross the placental barrier to reach the fetus in utero. However, other studies find that is very rare and that the risk to the fetus is minimal. In a recent small study of Chinese infants born to mothers infected with COVID-19, none tested positive for COVID-19. But, a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that of 33 mothers with COVID-19, three gave birth to babies with COVID-19. Two were born full-term and one was born about 9 weeks premature, but they all recovered within about a week.
What’s the biggest COVID-19 risk to a new family? Probably having both parents get sick, leaving no one to care for the baby. Be extra safe! Stay away from people, wash hands, wear a mask in public…and wash your hands again! And, just in case, have a backup caregiver plan in place.
You can stay healthy…but you have to take all this very seriously.
Should pregnant women plan on self-isolating for longer than the general public to protect their babies from COVID-19?
At this time, we are still learning about COVID-19, particularly related to its effect on pregnant women and infants, and there currently are no recommendations specific to pregnant women regarding the evaluation or management of COVID-19.
To the best of our knowledge, young children do not seem to be very effected by the virus. In limited recent case series of Chinese infants born to mothers infected with COVID-19, none of the infants have tested positive for COVID-19.
Should I skip my prenatal or postnatal appointments?
Social distancing is important—but so is your and your baby’s health! Check with your doctor to find out which appointments might be done virtually. For ultrasounds, tests, and your final prenatal appointments, your OB/GYN will probably want to see you in person, but there might be some appointments that can be done from afar! For in-person appointments, see if you can find a time when you can interact with the fewest number of people. Or you might be able to bypass the waiting room altogether: Ask if you can wait in your car and they can call or text you to let you know the doctor is ready to see you.
What about breastfeeding and coronavirus?
When possible, it is healthiest for babies to breastfeed. Breastmilk contains white blood cells and antibodies that help fight against infection. Moms with COVID-19 (or moms who are getting ill with a cold or fever and cough) should avoid spreading the virus to her infant by washing hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, while breastfeeding. It is also advised to wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use.
In very limited report to date, no virus has been found in the breastmilk of women infected with COVID-19. (The CDC has developed Interim Guidance on Breastfeeding for a Mother Confirmed or Under Investigation for COVID-19.)
There's a lot of talk about the third trimester right now, but how might COVID-19 affect expecting moms in their first trimester?
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.