Pregnancy and Breast Milk

We know you have many questions and concerns about exposure to COVID-19 during your pregnancy. Learn about COVID-19 during pregnancy, the impact on the baby in the womb and after delivery.

How does COVID-19 affect pregnant women?

From the data we have so far, the course of COVID-19 seems to be the same in pregnant women as for anyone else. This illness appears to be different from some other viral infections, like influenza, where we know that the risks are greater for those who are pregnant.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

Pregnant women should do the same things as the rest of the public to avoid infection. You should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Practice social distancing

For those who are in health care, to help protect your birth experience, we ask that after you are 36 weeks pregnant, you do not directly care for those who have, or are suspected of having, COVID-19. This includes caring for patients with respiratory illnesses.

Is my baby at risk of getting COVID-19 before it is born?

So far there is no good evidence that the coronavirus infection can be passed from the mom to the baby while in the womb. We know this from studies on placenta, amniotic fluid and even nasal swabs of newborns.

When your baby is born, it is as vulnerable to COVID-19 as anyone else in the room without a mask on. Speak to your provider for more information on this subject.

What should I do if I come into contact with someone who has, or is suspected of having, COVID-19?

If you are in contact with someone who has or is suspected of having COVID-19 (coronavirus), or if you have symptoms that worry you, we would like you to call your prenatal and primary care providers. Please do not seek care anywhere without calling ahead unless it is an emergency.

What should I do if I am infected with COVID-19?

If you are infected with COVID-19 or suspected to be infected around the time that you have your baby, we are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC’s) recommendation to separate you and your baby. We know this is an emotionally difficult step to take, but this is the right thing for the safety of your baby.

Is it safe to provide breast milk for my baby if I have COVID-19 or think I have been exposed to COVID-19?

With so much news about COVID-19, it is natural to worry about whether breastmilk is safe for your baby at this time. This is especially true if you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or if you have been diagnosed. We want to reassure you that your breast milk is not only safe, but also beneficial for your baby. For more information, please see our Breastfeeding and Breast Milk COVID-19 FAQ.

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