Pregnancy and COVID-19: Important Information You Need to Know
Can the coronavirus affect your unborn child?
Pregnancy is a time of excitement and even some nervousness, but the presence of COVID-19 has created anxiety on a whole new level. Are pregnant women more likely to catch the coronavirus? How does it affect the fetus? Is the virus in breast milk?
We’ve tacked some of these questions to give you the information you need.
Do Pregnant Women Have a Greater Chance of Catching COVID-19?
Unfortunately, information from the Centers for Disease Control shows that there are no easy answers to this question. While research is limited, preliminary studies indicate that those who are pregnant seem to have the same risk level as those who are not pregnant.
But don’t relax just yet.
While pregnant women may not have a greater chance of getting COVID-19, we do know that biological changes do make them more susceptible to some infections, particularly the flu.
The flu is a viral respiratory illness that is in the same family as the coronavirus. Therefore, we urge our patients to take no chances and do everything possible to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Can My Baby Get COVID-19 While in the Womb?
Again, studies are ongoing, but the CDC currently says that the transmission of the coronavirus from mother to child during pregnancy is highly unlikely. While a small number of babies tested positive for the virus after they were born, it’s not clear if they got the virus before or after birth.
In addition, thus far the virus has not been detected in:
- Amniotic fluid
- Other maternal samples
What About the Baby?
Once the baby is born, he or she is at risk of contracting the coronavirus by person-to-person spread. Therefore, so every precaution should be taken from the moment the baby is born.
Practice social distancing. As for all those relatives who want to meet the baby? Give them a visit via video programs such as Skype, Facetime and Zoom.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The CDC has extensive guidelines on how to protect yourself from COVID-19. We know you’ve heard them before, but we believe they are so important, we’d like to mention them again:
- Avoid those who are sick
- Avoid those who may have been exposed to the virus
- Always clean your hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer
- Be sure to disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently
Is Breastfeeding Safe?
Breastfeeding is an ideal source of nutrition for infants. It also has the benefit of protecting the baby from a variety of illnesses.
Again, studies are limited, but based on current information, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk. However, researchers are still not clear on whether or not mothers with the coronavirus can spread it through breast milk.
We are more than happy to work with you to help determine if breastfeeding or continuing breastfeeding is a good option for you in a time of COVID-19.
What If I Am Sick and Want to Breastfeed?
As mentioned earlier, while the virus has not been detected in breast milk, there is still a need for ongoing studies.
However, if you are sick and do decide to breastfeed, be sure to wear a facemask and wash your hands before each feeding.
If you want to express breast milk you should:
- Use a dedicated breast pump
- Wash hands before touching any part of the pump
- Follow recommended pump cleaning instructions
- Let someone who is well feed the breast milk to the baby
Want More Information? Review This Information from the Centers for Disease Control
The Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov ) remains the most reliable source of information about COVID-19 and the latest developments surrounding the coronavirus. If you need additional resources, visit their FAQ page.
Everything We Do Is Centered Around Your Safety
We know that the changes in our office polices have been inconvenient for so many of our patients. However, we do this only because we want you to remain safe and well.
We would like to take this time to thank you for your patience during this difficult time. As always, we’re available to answer any of your questions via our telehealth system.
Together, as a team, we will make it through this difficult time.