COVID19, Pregnancy, & Breastfeeding

COVID19, Pregnancy, & Breastfeeding

April 3, 2021

We do not currently know if pregnant people 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. Based on available information, pregnant people seem to have the same risk as adults who are not pregnant.

However, we do know that

  • Pregnant people have changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections.
  • Pregnant people have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza.

Pregnant people should protect themselves from COVID-19

  • Avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus.
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

Risks to the pregnancy and to the baby

    • Pregnant people have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza.

  • It is always important for pregnant people to protect themselves from illnesses.

Related: How to Protect Yourself

Mother-to-child transmission

  • Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread.
  • A very small number of babies have tested positive for the virus shortly after birth. However, it is unknown if these babies got the virus before or after birth.
  • The virus has not been detected in amniotic fluid, breastmilk, or other maternal samples.

Breastfeeding if you have COVID-19

  • Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants.
  • You, along with your family and healthcare providers, should decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding
  • In limited studies, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk; however we do not know for sure whether mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus via breast milk.
  • If you are sick and choose to direct breastfeed:
    • Wear a facemask and wash your hands before each feeding.
  • If the you are sick and choose to express breast milk:
    • Express breast milk to establish and maintain milk supply.
    • A dedicated breast pump should be provided.
    • Wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk.
    • Follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning (Español) after each use, cleaning all parts that come into contact with breast milk.
    • If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.