#Opinion

Academic: Pregnant, breastfeeding & caring for a child and covid-19

Jun 5, 2020, 12:24 PM | Article By: Mariama E. Bah and Husainatou Jallow

Does pregnancy put me at higher risk of covid-19?

Although we do know that pregnant people are at greater risk of getting sick from other respiratory viruses than people who are not pregnant, there are currently no data showing that covid-19 affects pregnant people differently than others. Therefore, if you’re pregnant, reduce your risk of getting sick like any other by:

Staying at home; Practicing physical distancing; Avoiding crowds or sick people; Washing hands often by soap and running water or hand sanitizer gel for at least 20 seconds

Clean and disinfecting objects and surfaces

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and then wash your hands. Or, cough into your bent elbow and clean your hands

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

If I’ve tested positive can I breastfeed my child?

Although there is no evidence that the virus can be carried or passed on through breast milk, the limited data available suggest this is not likely.

Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants.

Can I touch or hold my newborn if I tested positive for coronavirus?

Yes. Close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding helps a baby to thrive. You should be supported to

  • Breastfeed safely, with good respiratory hygiene; 
  • Hold your newborn skin-to-skin, and
  • Share a room with your baby

You should wash your hands before and after touching your baby, and keep all surfaces clean.

Can I infect my unborn child with covid-19?

To date, there is no evidence that a pregnant woman with covid-19 can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. The virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breast milk.

A small number of babies have been diagnosed with coronavirus shortly after birth, so there is a chance that infection may have occurred in the womb, but it is not certain whether transmission was before or soon after birth.

REFERENCES

Center for Disease Control (2019). Pregnant, breastfeeding and caring for a child

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist.(2020). Corona virus infection and pregnancy

Remuzzi, A., &Remuzzi, G. (2020). COVID-19 and Italy: what next?. The Lancet.

United Nations International Cjildrens Emergency Fun. (2020). Pregnancy, breastfeeding and coronavirus

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