Does COVID-19 Impact Pregnant or Breastfeeding Moms?

14 Apr, 2020


Young Woman Considering Breastfeeding During COVID-19 Pandemic


What is COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is an infectious disease that spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A novel coronavirus is a new strand that has not been previously identified in humans.

Are Pregnant Women More Susceptible to COVID-19?

Studies show decreased risks with pregnant women in comparison to those greater than 65 years of age, existing underlying comorbidities and those who are immunosuppressed.

The United Nations Population Fund states that, to date, there is no scientific evidence about the increased susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. They recommend pregnant women take the same preventive actions to avoid infection recommended for all adults. This includes washing hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, before, during and after preparation of food, before eating, after bathroom use, before and after caring for animals. In addition, covering mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

To date, studies of amniotic fluid, placental tissue, and breast milk have shown no vertical transmission between mom and preborn baby.

The Center for Disease and Prevention reports that the virus has not been found in the breast milk of women with COVID-19 but antibodies to fight it have been found. The CDC states that breast milk provides protection to many illnesses and encourages women to continue to breastfeed.

The United Nations Population Fund recommends that breastfeeding women should not be separated from their newborns, as there is no evidence to show that respiratory viruses can be transmitted through breast milk. Even mothers who are sick can continue to give breast milk to their babies; breast milk provides protection against many illnesses.

What if I’m Pregnant or Breastfeeding and Have Symptoms of COVID-19?

The CDC states there is no increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes in pregnant women with COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC recommend that pregnant or breastfeeding women with symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with the ongoing spread of COVID-19 stay home and call a healthcare provider for advice. Patients are encouraged to call in advance before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room to tell them about any recent travel and symptoms. This will allow the health care provider to direct patients to the right health facility to prevent the spread of this virus and other infections within clinics and hospitals.

If you are breastfeeding, take the following precautions:

  • Symptomatic mothers well enough to breastfeed should wear a mask when near her child (including during feeding), wash hands before and after contact with her child (including feeding), and clean/disinfect contaminated surfaces.
  • If a mother is too ill to breastfeed, she should be encouraged to express milk that can be given to the child via a clean cup and/or spoon – while wearing a mask, washing hands before and after contact with the child, and cleaning/disinfecting contaminated surfaces.

Contact Turning Point

At Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center, we believe the most important focus of our care is empowering our community with accurate, evidence-based information to allow them to make accurate decisions. In addition, we want to be a beacon of hope to alleviate fear and insecurities for moms-to-be or breastfeeding for moms trying to stay healthy during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Please text (858) 822-9335, email or call our clinic at 858-397-1970 to speak with our medical staff.