Q&A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding
29 March 2020
If you are pregnant or a breastfeeding mom, you might have lots of questions regarding the new coronavirus and how it affects your child and you.
1. I’m pregnant. How can I protect myself against COVID-19?
Women during pregnancy should take same precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as other people:
Wash your hands frequently,
Keep your distance,
Avoid touching your face,
Cover your mouth and nose properly when you cough/sneeze.
2. Should pregnant women be tested for COVID-19?
Testing protocols and eligibility vary depending on where you live, but WHO recommends that pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19 should be prioritized for testing.
3. Can COVID-19 be passed from a woman to her unborn or newborn baby?
It's still not known if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her unborn or newborn baby during pregnancy or delivery. To date, the coronavirus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.
4. What care should be available during pregnancy and childbirth?
All pregnant women, including those with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections, have the right to high-quality care before, during and after childbirth.
5. Do pregnant women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 need to give birth by caesarean section?
A caesarean is not necessary unless otherwise medically justified. Obstetric indications and a woman's preferences should determine mode of birth, including cases of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections.
6. Can women with COVID-19 breastfeed?
Yes, women with COVID19 can breastfeed. They should:
Wear a mask where available during feeding,
Wash hands before & after touching their baby,
Clean and disinfect surfaces they've touched.
7. Can I touch and hold my newborn baby if I have COVID-19?
Close contact helps a baby to thrive. Women with COVID-19 infections can breastfeed safely, wearing a mask where available. Wash your hands before and after touching your baby and keep all surfaces clean.
8. I have COVID-19 and am too unwell to breastfeed my baby directly. What can I do?
Women who are too unwell to breastfeed due to COVID-19 infection should be supported to safely provide their baby with breastmilk in another way, including expressing milk, re-lactation or donor human milk.