Coronavirus and breastfeeding

Coronavirus and pregnancy and breastfeeding

Pregnant women are a group that deserves increased attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding coronavirus in the context of pregnancy and infant care.

Are pregnant women at greater risk of coronavirus infection?

Does the disease have a more severe course in them? At present, we do not know whether pregnant women have a greater chance of contracting COVID-19 than the general population, or whether the disease is therefore more likely to take a serious course. During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes many changes, including in the immune system, which can increase the risk of certain infections.

Pregnant women are more vulnerable to diseases caused by viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza. Therefore, it is very important that they especially protect themselves from infection.

Read: Coronavirus and pregnancy

How can a pregnant woman protect herself from infection?

The recommendations for pregnant women are the same as for everyone, although it is advisable to be even more thorough in fulfilling them.

  • Avoid leaving the house. Ask people close to you for help, such as shopping.
  • Absolutely avoid contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based disinfectants.
  • Ask your doctor about remote consultation options so that you visit a medical facility as infrequently as possible. You can discuss your test results via tele- or video-consultation.
  • Be sure to wear a mask and disposable gloves when visiting a medical facility! Be at the exact time of your appointment to avoid unnecessary waiting.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you have any worrisome symptoms.

How does COVID-19 affect the course of pregnancy?

At this time, we do not know if COVID-19 causes complications during pregnancy or affects the health of the baby after birth. Avoid risks at all costs and follow the recommendations.

Can the baby get infected from the mother during pregnancy or delivery?

So far, infection of the fetus from the sick mother during pregnancy or the baby during delivery has not been observed. In the small number of cases studied of babies born to mothers with COVID-19, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breast milk. However, during breastfeeding, the baby is exposed to potential infection from the mother via the droplet route.

Does maternal infection pose a threat to normal delivery?

To date, there have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or childbirth in women who have tested positive for COVID-19. These include premature labor, but it cannot be completely confirmed that the problems were directly related to the mother’s infection. The virus itself may not affect the body’s mechanisms related to pregnancy and childbirth. However, it is worth remembering that the development of a severe form of COVID-19 with pneumonia and respiratory failure can pose an immediate threat to the life of the mother and fetus, or prevent natural childbirth.

Can a woman with COVID-19 breastfeed?

Breast milk is the best source of nutrients for most infants. So far, the virus has not been detected in the milk of mothers with COVID-19, so breastfeeding is not contraindicated. However, as with other maternal infections, the method of feeding should be determined with a doctor.

Regardless, the mother should take all possible precautions to avoid transmission of the virus to the baby. The mother should wash her hands before touching the infant and wear a mask to cover her nose and mouth. When expressing milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any part of the pump or bottle and disinfect the pump after each use, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.


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