COVID-19 and Pregnancy
To the Honu Women’s Health Obstetric and Postpartum patients, please read the following carefully.
Many of you may be wondering about the impact of COVID-19 with regards to your pregnancy or breastfeeding, so we have put the following information together from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):
What is the risk to pregnant women of getting COVID-19? Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease? If they become infected, will they be more sick than other people?
We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Data are limited, but at present there is no evidence that they are at higher risk of severe illness than the general population.
However, due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some respiratory infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses, like COVID-19, and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty breathing) to your healthcare provider.
How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?
Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:
- Washing your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Keeping space between yourselves and others and avoiding crowded spaces.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practicing respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
If you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
Call before coming into Honu Women’s Health or your healthcare provider’s office
Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?
We do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.
Transmission of COVID-19 through breast milk?
Much is unknown about how COVID-19 is spread. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza (flu) and other respiratory pathogens spread. In limited studies on women with COVID-19 and another coronavirus infection, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus has not been detected in breast milk; however, we do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk.
Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses. There are rare exceptions when breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk is not recommended. CDC has no specific guidance for breastfeeding during infection with similar viruses like SARS-CoV or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).
Outside of the immediate postpartum setting, CDC recommends that a mother with flu continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk to her infant while taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant.
If you have questions that have not been answered here, please feel free to submit through your patient portal or through the website at info@HonuWH.com.
Please stay safe, healthy, and know we are here for you, every step of the way.
Honu Women’s Health