Because we are still learning about COVID-19 and how it spreads, the risk to pregnant women, the fetus, and infants remains inconclusive. Research is ongoing, but here is what you should know now about COVID-19, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
Passing COVID To The Fetus
To date, no infants born to a mother infected with COVID-19 have tested positive for the virus. The virus has also not been detected in amniotic fluid or breastmilk.
Risk to infants of a mother who has COVID-19 is still unknown and inconclusive. There have been some reports of preterm births, but it is not clear if this is from the virus or some other health issue or infection. With that said, an infant can become infected by person to person spread.
The Likelihood Of A Pregnant Women Becoming Infected With COVID
Pregnant women seem to have the same chance of getting COVID as the general public, and it is not known at this time if they are more likely to have serious illness.
It is true that changes in the body during pregnancy can increase risk for some infections, and pregnant women have a higher risk of serious illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID 19 and other viral respiratory infections like the flu.
It is important for pregnant women to take extra precautions and avoid infection by following all the guidelines outlined by the CDC.
Breastfeeding If Infected With COVID
Breast milk provides protection against illness and is the best source of nutrition for your infant. At the same time, there are some precautions and decisions to be made about breastfeeding if you have the virus.
Consult with Virginia Women’s Health Associates and your family about whether to breastfeed or continue to breastfeed.
- If you are sick, wear a face mask and wash your hands before breastfeeding.
- If you decide to express breast milk, maintain the milk supply.
- Have a dedicated breast pump.
- Clean the pump as recommended by the CDC.
- Consider having someone else who is not sick feed the milk to your infant.
Stay Safe From All Illness While Pregnant
In general, when you are pregnant, your immune system responds less quickly making you susceptible to infections. High fever during the first trimester can increase the risk of certain birth defects. Miscarriage and stillbirths have been noted with other coronavirus infections like the flu.
Best practices include washing your hands frequently, social distancing, cleaning often touched surfaces, and all the other guidelines suggested by the CDC.
Virginia Women’s Health Associates will keep you updated on any new information.
Feel free to call (703) 435-2555 with any questions about COVID-19, pregnancy and breastfeeding.