If you're pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you may be concerned about how infection with the coronavirus (also called COVID-19) may affect your pregnancy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts don't yet know whether COVID-19 infection causes pregnancy complications or affects a baby's health following birth.
There has been only a small number of cases reported in medical literature so far, and in some of those cases women hospitalized with COVID-19 had to give birth prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). However, it's not clear whether those complications were directly linked to the effect of the virus that causes COVID-19. Most reports have focused on women infected during later pregnancy and data on COVID-19 effects in early pregnancy are unavailable at this point.
More research is needed to find out if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the coronavirus to her baby during pregnancy or birth. In recent studies, some babies born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for COVID-19 infection in the days after birth. However, it's not clear when the baby was infected. So far, no virus has been detected in samples of amniotic fluid, cord blood or breast milk.
Experts don't yet know if pregnant women are more likely to get infected with COVID-19 or have more serious health problems from COVID-19 infection than non-pregnant women their age. During pregnancy, a woman's body goes through changes that may increase her risk of complications from some, but not all, infections. For example, it is known that pregnant women are more likely to develop severe illness following infection with other coronaviruses (SARS and MERS) and the flu. Since we don't yet know if the same is true for COVID-19, pregnant women can take steps to help protect themselves from becoming infected with COVID-19.
If you're pregnant, these tips can help you protect yourself from infection:
Breast milk is the best food for most babies, but moms who have or may have COVID-19 infection should review their individual breastfeeding risks and benefits with their health care providers.
If the healthcare provider and the mom decide that use of breast milk is advised, a mom with confirmed COVID-19 infection or who has symptoms of COVID-19 infection (coughing, fever or trouble breathing) should take steps to avoid spreading the virus to her baby. If possible, a person who is healthy can feed expressed breast milk to the baby to help prevent spread of infection.
To help prevent the spread of infection, a mom can wash her hands before touching her baby and wear a face mask during breastfeeding and caring for a baby. If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, she should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow steps for proper pump cleaning after each use.
We understand that you may have concerns and want to assure you that we are steadfast in our commitment to safely providing the care you need. Our maternal-fetal medicine specialists are available to connect with you in person and with Virtual Visits. To request an appointment, call 617-732-5130 or submit the form below.
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