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     COVID-19 and Pregnancy

COVID-19 and Pregnancy

Frequently Asked Questions

UMMC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology





Am I at more risk of contracting COVID-19 if I’m pregnant?

Based on our current knowledge from recent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, the answer is NO. Pregnancy does change your immune system making you more susceptible to viral respiratory infections. If you become infected you may be at higher risk for more severe illness compared to the general population. This is what we have seen in pregnant women with other coronavirus infections and other viral respiratory infections such as the flu. Based on limited data so far, this does NOT appear to be the case with COVID-19.





How might coronavirus affect my pregnancy?

The data from the present COVID-19 pandemic is limited. From previous data, women with other non-COVID-19 coronavirus infections did NOT show increased rates of miscarriage or stillbirth.

Other viral infections during pregnancy like the flu have been associated with problems like low birth weight and preterm birth. Also, having a high fever early in pregnancy may increase the risk of certain birth defects.





Can I transmit coronavirus to my baby during pregnancy or delivery?

Based on our current knowledge from recent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, the answer is NO. The few case studies of babies born to mothers with COVID-19 published in peer reviewed literature showed that none of the infants tested positive for COVID-19. There have been no reports of mother to baby transmission for other coronaviruses. Additionally, no virus has been detected in amniotic fluid or breast milk samples.

There have been reports of newborns as young as a few days old with COVID-19 infection, suggesting that a mother can transmit infection to her infant through close contact after birth.





Is it safe for me to deliver at a hospital where there have been COVID-19 cases?

YES, hospitals are taking great precautions to keep patients, their babies, and healthcare providers safe.





I am a healthcare worker. Should my doctor excuse me from work since I am pregnant?

NO. You may continue to work in a clinical setting and should adhere to standard precautions as recommended by the CDC. If a patient is under investigation or is known to be infected with COVID-19, attempt to limit exposure to that patient. Avoid, to the extent possible, aerosol generating procedures including endotracheal intubation, airway suctioning, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and sputum collection.

If you have an unexpected exposure to COVID-19, you should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days, including checking your temperature twice daily. If you develop a temperature of 100.4 F or greater, have a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or gastrointestinal symptoms, you should stay home from work. If your symptoms worsen, you should call your obstetrician to arrange outpatient follow up.





I work in a school, the travel industry, or some other high risk setting. Should I stay home from work?

You should talk to your employer about what is being done to protect employees and minimize the risk of infections. Wash your hands often. It is important to practice social distancing with 6 feet of space between you and others, if possible.





Should we delay trying to conceive during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Based on our current knowledge from recent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, the answer is NO. It does not appear that COVID-19 causes birth defects or increases your risk of miscarriage. One caution, we don’t know if the virus lives in semen or can be sexually transmitted.





We plan to travel during the pregnancy or shortly after our baby is born. Is this OK?

NO. At this time, the virus has reached worldwide and all 50 states. Places where large numbers of people gather such airports are highest risk. Even traveling by car in the United States increases your risk and the risk of your baby to exposure.





Will the hospital separate me from my newborn and keep my baby in quarantine?

NO. If you don’t have COVID-19 and have not been exposed to the virus, the hospital will not separate you from your baby.

If you do test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed, it may be recommended that you be separated from your baby to decrease the risk of transmission to your baby. Each hospital may have differing recommendations for which babies should be quarantined and how long this quarantine may last.





Can I breastfeed or pump for my child if I have COVID-19?

Based on our current knowledge from recent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, the answer is YES. It does not appear that COVID-19 has been detected in breast milk samples. With proper washing techniques of pumping parts, milk can be effectively pumped and stored. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for the newborn as it has natural immune boosting properties. Lactation consultants are available to teach proper techniques for handling pumps. If mother and baby are not separated, breastfeeding is possible if the mother puts on a facemask and practices hand hygiene before each feeding.

Source: Adapted from the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine /Baby Center and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Clinical Guidance March 2020