COVID-19 is a new virus—there’s a lot we don’t know, and a lot we’re still learning about it like how it spreads and how it affects us. Being pregnant during times like these can be stressful, but we’re here to help as much as we can. Keep reading for some answers to common COVID-19 questions.
COVID-19 and Pregnancy
At this point, we don’t know for sure whether or not pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick. Pregnant women do experience a lot of changes in their bodies that could increase their risk of some infections. Data suggests that, so far, men are more likely to become sick from COVID-19 than women.
Here are a few ways you can protect yourself:
- Cover your cough or sneeze using your elbow
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or alcohol-based sanitizer
- Avoid people who are sick—this includes people who are sick but haven’t started showing symptoms. This virus can be spread before symptoms begin.
We don’t know for sure whether or not a mother with COVID-19 can pass it on to her unborn baby, but the data looks promising! At this point, no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for it. In addition to this good news, the virus has not yet been found in any samples of amniotic fluid or breast milk from mothers who have tested positive.
COVID-19 and Nursing
Breast milk provides your baby with everything they need—including protections against a wide range of illnesses. That’s why there are very few occasions when breastfeeding (or feeding expressed breast milk) is not recommended. At this point, the CDC has no specific guidance for breastfeeding during COVID-19 or other similar viruses like SARS-CoV or MERS-CoV. The CDC recommends that a mother with the flu continue to breastfeed her baby while taking precautions, of course. Because it seems unlikely that you’d pass COVID-19 on to your baby, you should continue to breastfeed.
Here are a few precautions you should take while breastfeeding:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your baby
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth while feeding
- If you’re feeding your baby expressed milk, wash your hands thoroughly before touching pumps or bottles
- Follow the recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use
If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, it might be a good idea to express your breast milk and have someone else feed you baby, if that’s a possibility for you.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most babies. Because there is still so much unknown about this virus, whether or not to start or continue breastfeeding should be up to the mother in coordination with her family and her healthcare providers.
For more maternity news and information, check out the rest of our blogs. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact RMC.