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Expectant moms: Take care and don't panic about coronavirus

Expectant moms: Take care and don't panic about coronavirus

We know our pregnant patients may be feeling especially anxious, and we want you to know we’re here for you.

Take a deep breath, and let's keep in touch. 

According to the CDC, we do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public. 

What we do know is that the birthing team at West Jefferson Medical Center has your safety as the top priority.

To keep our facilities as safe and clean as possible, West Jefferson has active visitor restrictions in place, and the Family Birth Place is taking additional precautions to sanitize our room and suites for labor, delivery and postpartum care, as well as our NICU suites.

Things you can do to ease your mind

  • Pregnant women should take the same precautions as everyone else. Those include washing hands often and avoiding contact with people who are sick, especially those who have visited areas with a coronavirus outbreak.
  • As with the general public, non-essential travel isn't recommended, however. Air travel is especially risky due to prolonged exposure. If your seatmate is coughing, it's unlikely that you can move to another seat and you can't get off the plane, he noted.
  • Most pregnant women who have mild respiratory symptoms such as cough or fever need not get tested for coronavirus, at this time. 
    • However, if a pregnant woman develops these symptoms after contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus or who have traveled to areas where outbreaks have occurred, she should contact her health care provider.

Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?

No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In these cases, which are a small number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk. However, we still do not know for certain if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery.

If a pregnant woman has COVID-19 during pregnancy, will it hurt the baby?

We do not know at this time what if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19. There have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery (e.g. preterm birth) in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal infection.

Interim guidance on breastfeeding for a mother confirmed or under investigation for COVID-19

This interim guidance is intended for women who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are persons-under-investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 and are currently breastfeeding. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and the transmission of other viral respiratory infections. CDC will update this interim guidance as needed as additional information becomes available. For breastfeeding guidance in the immediate postpartum setting, refer to Interim Considerations for Infection Prevention and Control of 2019 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Inpatient Obstetric Healthcare Settings.

Transmission of COVID-19 through breast milk

Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu is spread. In limited studies on women with COVID-19 and another coronavirus infection, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus has not been detected in breast milk; however, we do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk.

Guidance on breastfeeding for mothers with confirmed COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers.

A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is showing symptoms and considered a PIU should take all precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast.

If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well to feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

Everything we know from the CDC regarding coronavirus and pregnancy can be found here: coronavirus and pregnancy.

For the latest information regarding policies, operations, and additional information regarding COVID-19 at LCMC Health, please visit