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Posted March 30, 2020 by Edward M Ferris, MD
As Coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread, pregnant women worry not only for themselves but for their developing babies. This is a new virus, and doctors are still learning about the risk it poses to women and infants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that it is too early in this epidemic to know if a pregnant woman can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. However, “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.”
For most babies, breast milk is the best source of nutrition. If a mother is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, she should take the following precautions when breastfeeding:
• Wash your hands before touching your baby.
• Wear a face mask while your baby is feeding at your breast.
• If you are using a breast pump, wash your hands before touching any part of the pump or bottles and disinfect the pump afterwards.
• If possible, have someone who is healthy feed your pumped milk to your baby.
Because this is a new virus, the CDC’s guidelines can change as new data is collected. We urge you to visit their website daily at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html for the latest information.
Summa has protocols in place to protect you
Our Infection Control Department and Infectious Disease Division, in conjunction with the CDC and local public health officials, is continuing to diligently monitor the situation and preparing its staff for an emergency.
We know that birth is a joyous time for new mothers and families. However, due to the increasing spread of COVID-19 and in accordance with CDC guidelines, Summa Health is currently restricting visitors. Please visit our current Visitation Guidelines to get up-to-date information on these restrictions. Contact the Call Center Help Line at 330.319.9453 with any questions about visitation.
The best defense is prevention
Our advice for pregnant women is the same for everyone as this pandemic unfolds. Wash your hands often and don’t touch your face. If you must be around others, keep six feet away. Finally, opt for virtual prenatal visits if your OB/GYN offers them.
We also recommend that you get a flu shot. When you are pregnant, changes to your immune system and vital organs put you at higher risk of developing severe respiratory distress. The flu vaccine won’t protect you from COVID-19, but it will lower your risk of catching the flu and developing complications during your pregnancy.
Call our 24/7 hotline at 234.867.6314 if you have additional questions related to the Coronavirus.