COVID-19: Advice if You're Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Overview

There's a lot we don't know about COVID-19 yet. This includes whether the virus can cause problems during pregnancy and whether it can be passed to the baby during birth or breastfeeding. Experts are studying the virus and learning more about it every day. There may soon be clearer guidance for pregnant women and new mothers. In the meantime, there are things you can do to protect your health and the health of your baby.

If you're pregnant

Pregnancy causes changes in the body that may raise the risk for some infections. Pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from respiratory infections, like the flu. So it's important to try to avoid infections. The same steps that can help prevent COVID-19 will also help prevent other viral infections, like colds and the flu. These steps are the same for all of us:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Scrub for 20 seconds, rinse, and dry.
  • Practice social distancing. When you're out, keep a space of 6 feet (2 meters) between yourself and others.
  • Stay home as much as you can. And limit visitors to your home.
  • Stay away from people who seem sick or are coughing or sneezing.

If you're breastfeeding

Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your baby's risk of infection.

If you have COVID-19 or have symptoms, like a fever or a cough:

  • Take extra care to avoid passing the infection to your baby.
    • Wash your hands well before you touch your baby.
    • Wear a cloth face cover. Wear it anytime you hold your baby.
  • Take precautions if you pump breast milk.
    • Wash your hands well before you touch the pump or bottle.
    • Clean the pump well when you're finished.
    • If you can, have someone who isn't sick give your baby the bottle.

Call if you become sick

Call your doctor if you have any symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19, like a fever, a cough, or shortness of breath.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: June 18, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine