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Apr.14.2021
 Pregnancy and COVID-19

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Coronavirus disease, also called COVID-19, is an infection of the lungs and airways (respiratory tract). It is unclear at this time if pregnancy makes it more likely for you to get COVID-19, or what effects the infection may have on your unborn baby. However, pregnancy causes changes to your heart, your lungs, and your body's disease-fighting system (immune system). Some of these changes make it more likely for you to get sick and have more serious illness. It is important for you to take precautions in order to protect yourself and your unborn baby.
Protect yourself and your baby by:
  • Knowing your risk factors. Some conditions may put you at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. Take precautions if you have diabetes or obesity.
  • Working with your health care team to protect yourself against all infections, including COVID-19.

How does COVID-19 affect me?

If you get COVID-19, there is a risk that you may:
  • Get a respiratory illness that can lead to pneumonia.
  • Give birth to your baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy (preterm birth). There may be an increased risk of preterm birth among pregnant women with COVID-19.
If you have COVID-19, your health care provider may recommend special precautions around your pregnancy. This may affect:
  • How you visit your health care provider. You will notify your clinic or hospital before your visit. The clinic or hospital will take steps to protect other people from the virus, including seeing you in a special room.
  • How you receive care before delivery (prenatal care). Tests and scans may need to be done differently.
  • How you receive care during labor and delivery. This may affect your birth plan, including who may be with you during labor and delivery. You will also have a special room on the day of delivery.
  • How you receive care after delivery (postpartum care). You may stay longer in the hospital.
  • How you feed your baby after he or she is born.
  • How you receive visitors after the delivery of your baby. Visitors should be limited to those essential for your well-being and care (emotional support persons).

How does COVID-19 affect my baby?

It is not known whether a mother will transmit the virus to her unborn baby during pregnancy and delivery. To date, the virus has not been found in breastmilk or in the samples of fluid around the baby in the womb.

What can I do to lower my risk?

Medicines and vaccines

  • There are vaccines to help prevent COVID-19. However, it is not yet known whether these vaccines are safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your health care team about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Get recommended vaccines, including the flu vaccine and the whooping cough (Tdap) vaccine.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you can get a 30-day, or longer, supply of your medicines, so you can make fewer trips to the pharmacy.

Cleaning and personal hygiene

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, face, eyes, or nose before washing your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched every day. These may include:
    • Counters and tables.
    • Doorknobs and light switches.
    • Sinks and faucets.
    • Electronics such as phones, remote controls, keyboards, computers, and tablets.

Other things to do

  • Avoid interacting with people who might have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19 as much as possible, including people who live with you.
  • Cover your mouth and nose by wearing a mask or other cloth covering over your face when you go out in public.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any health concerns.
    • Contact your health care provider right away if you think you have COVID-19. Tell your health care provider that you think you may have a COVID-19 infection.

Breastfeeding tips

It is not known if the virus that causes COVID-19 can pass through breast milk to your baby. Plan with your family and health care team how to feed your baby.
If you have or may have COVID-19, your health care provider may recommend that you take precautions while breastfeeding. These include:
  • Washing your hands before feeding your baby.
  • Wearing a mask while feeding your baby.
  • Pumping or expressing breast milk to feed to your baby. If possible, ask someone in your household who is not sick to feed your baby the expressed breast milk.
    • Wash your hands before touching pump parts.
    • Wash and disinfect all pump parts after expressing milk. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to clean and disinfect all pump parts.

Follow these instructions:

Managing stress

Find ways to manage stress. These may include:
  • Using relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing.
  • Getting regular exercise. Most women can continue their usual exercise routine during pregnancy. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Seeking support from family, friends, or spiritual resources. If you cannot be together in person, you can still connect by phone calls, texts, video calls, or online messaging.
  • Spending time doing relaxing activities that you enjoy, like listening to music or reading a good book.

General instructions

  • Follow your health care provider's instructions on taking medicines. Some medicines may be unsafe to take during pregnancy.
  • Ask for help if you have counseling or nutritional needs during pregnancy. Your health care provider can offer advice or refer you to resources or specialists who can help you with various needs.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important. This includes visits before and after you have your baby.

Questions to ask your health care team

  • What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
  • How will COVID-19 affect my prenatal care visits, tests and scans, labor and delivery, and postpartum care?
  • Should I plan to breastfeed my baby?
  • Where can I find mental health resources?
  • Where can I find support if I have financial concerns?

Where to find more information

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have signs and symptoms of infection, including a fever or cough. Tell your health care team that you think you may have a COVID-19 infection.
  • You have strong emotions, such as sadness or anxiety.
  • You feel unsafe in your home and need help finding a safe place to live.
  • You have bloody or watery vaginal discharge or vaginal bleeding.

Get help right away if:

  • You have signs or symptoms of labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy. These include:
    • Contractions that are 5 minutes or less apart, or that increase in frequency, intensity, or length.
    • Sudden, sharp pain in the abdomen or in the lower back.
    • A gush or trickle of fluid from your vagina.
  • You have signs of more serious illness, such as:
    • You have difficulty breathing.
    • You have chest pain.
    • You have a fever of 102°F (39°C) or higher that does not go away.
    • You cannot drink fluids without vomiting.
    • You feel extremely weak or you faint.
These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.

Summary

  • Coronavirus disease, also called COVID-19, is an infection of the lungs and airways. It is not clear if pregnancy makes it more likely for you to get COVID-19. It is not known if COVID-19 can affect unborn babies.
  • Take precautions to protect yourself and your baby. Wash hands often and avoid touching your mouth, face, eyes, or nose. Avoid large groups of people and stay away from people who are sick.
  • If you think you have a COVID-19 infection, contact your health care provider right away. Tell your health care provider that you think you may have a COVID-19 infection.
  • If you have COVID-19, your health care provider may recommend special precautions during your pregnancy, labor and delivery, and after your baby is born.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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