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Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women and the Corona Virus

  • It is important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses and the Corona Virus. Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection by taking these actions: Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique), Avoid people who are sick and Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • It is not known if Corona Virus will cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth. It is not known if a pregnant woman with Corona Virus can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. No infants born to mothers with have the virus have tested positive for the Corona virus. In these cases, which are a small number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.

  • It is not known if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from Corona virus than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. With other viral respiratory infections, like the flu, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness.

  • It is not known if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has Corona Virus. 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 Corona Virus during their pregnancy.

  • Much is unknown about how the Corona Virus is spread. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly thru respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the way that influenza (flu) and other respiratory diseases spread. In limited studies on women with Corona Virus and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus has not been detected in breast milk; however it is not known whether mothers with Corona Virus can transmit the virus via breast milk.

  • Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. However, much is unknown about Corona Virus. 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 Corona Virus or who has symptoms should take all possible 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 breastfeeding. 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 not sick feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

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