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What Happens If I'm Diagnosed With COVID-19 While I'm Pregnant?

June 11, 2020 - Dr. Elizabeth Mosier

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety over the past several months, especially among pregnant women. Pregnancy can be stressful at the best of times, and I know the new coronavirus has been causing my patients serious strain.

Here's what to know if you get COVID-19 while you're pregnant.

Your care team will take steps to help keep you safe

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, there are several steps we take to keep you safe. Your obstetrician will schedule frequent video visits and telephone calls to help you monitor your symptoms and your baby.

If you are admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 symptoms or for delivery, you will have a team consisting of your obstetrician, maternal fetal medicine specialist, anesthesiologist, nurses and critical care doctors, if necessary.

Some pregnant women with COVID-19 have experienced preterm labor, but whether this is caused by COVID-19 or due to other causes is not clear. COVID-19 itself is not a reason for early delivery, vacuum or forceps delivery, or cesarean section unless truly necessary for your safety or your baby's safety.

Delivering a baby while ill with COVID-19 may mean taking extra precautions

If a mother-to-be has COVID-19 at the time of her baby's birth, we do encourage her to consider isolation from her baby — to help avoid transmitting COVID-19 to the infant.

However, we do understand that a woman may not want to isolate from her child due to concerns about disruption in bonding and breastfeeding. We also understand that this is a very difficult decision to make. In the end, it is up to the mother.

If a mother's desire is to stay with her baby, we recommend taking the following precautions:

  • Wear a mask
  • Keep the baby 6 feet away when possible
  • Practice proper hand washing, especially before handling the baby

 

While COVID-19 does not appear to spread via breast milk, it may still spread via respiratory droplets during breastfeeding. If a mother is isolating from her baby, breastfeeding via pumping and feeding with a healthy family member is encouraged. Washing the breast before pumping and disinfecting the pump and bottles after pumping helps minimize the risk of transmission.

If a mother is not isolating from her baby, then breastfeeding following careful hand washing and washing the breast is encouraged.

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