COVID-19 is a concern for everybody, but pregnant women and others anticipating the birth of a baby may worry about how the novel coronavirus could affect their health and the health of the baby.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new disease that results from infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
As it has only appeared recently, experts have not yet collected enough data to know exactly how the virus affects the health of pregnant women, fetuses, or newborns.
However, several official organizations have released guidance on how pregnant women and those with newborns should proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This article looks at what we currently know about the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy, giving birth, and the period after delivery.
For more advice on COVID-19 prevention and treatment, visit our coronavirus hub.
According to the
They may also be at increased risk for other poor outcomes, such as preterm birth.
Due to this, the CDC and the
If women suspect that they have COVID-19 while pregnant, they should talk to their doctor as soon as possible. According to the ACOG, pregnant women with suspected COVID-19 should receive priority testing.
A study from the United Kingdom found that
During pregnancy, women are also more at risk of getting sick from other respiratory viruses, including influenza. These infections can have adverse effects on the woman and baby.
These are unsettling times, and it is natural to feel stressed. Taking time for self-care and activities that relieve stress can have important benefits for both the woman and the baby.
To date, research has
In most cases, newborns with COVID-19 have had mild or no symptoms and made a full recovery. There are also a few reported cases of severe illness in newborns, though.
In a few cases, early birth and other pregnancy or birth problems have occurred in women with COVID-19. However, experts do not know if these problems were related to the virus.
Women who suspect that they have COVID-19 soon before their due date can contact their hospital in advance to find out about their protocol. Many hospitals have separate entrances for people who have COVID-19.
Some hospitals in the United States are limiting the number of visitors, with the aim of protecting patients and staff from the virus. These policies may affect who can attend ultrasound scans, enter the delivery room, or be present during labor.
However, some hospitals have relaxed their restrictions and no longer have these rules in place. People can call the hospital in advance to find out their current guidelines.
In some cases, if a pregnant woman has confirmed or suspected COVID-19, a doctor might recommend temporarily separating the woman and newborn after delivery to reduce the risk of the newborn catching the virus.
Those who choose not to separate from the baby should take extra precautions. These include regular hand washing and wearing a cloth face covering when within 2 meters of the newborn.
The hospital staff will care for pregnant women with COVID-19 according to the procedures that the facility has in place for other people with COVID-19. These may involve staying in private rooms, away from other people.
One of the biggest questions that new mothers with COVID-19 may have is whether they should breastfeed their babies.
Breast milk has
Experts generally recommend that women breastfeed as much as possible, but those with COVID-19 might worry about passing the virus on to the infant.
Despite this, women with COVID-19 should take precautions to ensure that they do not transmit the virus to the baby when breastfeeding. Women who plan to breastfeed should wear a face mask and disinfect their hands before touching the baby.
If a woman with COVID-19 plans to pump her breast milk, she should disinfect her hands and the pump before and after each use. Where possible, someone who does not have the disease should do the actual feeding.
COVID-19 is a new disease, and there are limited data about how it affects pregnant women, fetuses, newborns, and the future health status of these individuals.
The limited data available suggest that SARS-CoV-2 does not pass to babies in the womb, in amniotic fluid, or in breast milk.
Anyone concerned about how COVID-19 might affect their health or their child’s heath can talk to their healthcare provider for up-to-date information and reassurance.