Pregnancy and Childbirth During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Pregnancy and Childbirth During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

You may have many questions about pregnancy and childbirth during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Let us help answer some of your questions.

Is it safe to have a baby now?
For patients contemplating pregnancy, there is no current recommendation to delay trying to have a baby because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Is it safe to get pregnant now?
Based on what we know now coronavirus (COVID-19) does not cause miscarriage or birth defects. Therefore, the pregnancy should not be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What should I do differently to protect myself and my baby during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?
The good news is that there are no additional precautions needed beyond the guidance that applies to everyone.  Pregnant women should avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus; should wash hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. If you are currently pregnant, because of the need to ensure the health of the mother and infant, we do not recommend that OB appointments be delayed or put off, if possible.

Does coronavirus (COVID-19) cause birth defects?
No, based on what we currently know, there is no worry for birth defects.

Will my baby be born prematurely?
While some pregnant women with coronavirus (COVID-19) have delivered their babies before they were full term, it is not clear if the coronavirus (COVID-19) had anything to do with that. It is recommended that you contact the hospital where you plan to deliver your baby to learn of any special visitor restrictions in place related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

What should I eat during pregnancy?
There are no additional dietary restrictions or needs as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). None of the recommendations for additional supplements (Zinc, Vitamin C, etc.) are backed by good research. Please visit The American College of Gynecology (ACOG) website for dietary recommendations in pregnancy.

What activities should I avoid during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?
Social distancing is critically important. Read this for more information. The CDC advises the public to stay home as much as possible and to put distance between yourself and other people. Remember that people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. Comply with all local guidelines and restrictions (shelter in place, etc) designed to reduce the spread of disease.

Will my baby get coronavirus (COVID-19) if I get infected?
At present, there is no information that a mother can infect her baby with coronavirus (COVID-19) prior to delivery. After delivery, there is a risk of spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection from the mother to the baby by contact with infectious respiratory secretions. Because of this risk of exposure from mother to baby, many hospitals have protocols in place to isolate infected patients from others and would recommend separating the baby from a mother known to be infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Will my baby have breathing problems if I am exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19)?
There is currently no evidence that a baby will experience breathing problems if the baby’s mother has coronavirus (COVID-19). But, the baby is at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) due to the close contact with the mother, unless the baby is temporarily separated from the mother.

Will I be able to breastfeed my baby if I have coronavirus (COVID-19)?
There is no evidence that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread through breast milk. However, as noted above, it can be spread from mother to baby due to respiratory droplets. Therefore, many physicians recommend pumping milk and having the father or other family member who is not infected feed the milk to the baby until it is safe for the mother to stop isolation. Mothers are encouraged to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after expressing milk (pumping) to decrease the spread of infection. Also, if breast pumps are used, it is recommended all parts of the pump that come into contact with breast milk are washed thoroughly and the entire pump should be appropriately disinfected between use per manufacturer recommendations.