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COVID-19 and Your Pregnancy

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

While pregnancy can already elicit anxiety in expectant parents, pregnancy during times of COVID-19 can add a whole another layer (or two) of stress and concerns. With overwhelming and often conflicting information found online, it's important to sift the fact from fiction during these uncertain times.

  • Pregnant women should follow the same precautions as non-pregnant people in minimizing their risk of exposure to COVID-19 including social distancing, masking, and frequent hand washing.

  • COVID-19 infection is potentially dangerous for all people and symptoms are similar in pregnant women as they are in non-pregnant women.

  • However, pregnancy increases the risk of a more severe illness with higher likelihood of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, need for breathing support, and death.

  • Severe COVID-19 infection during pregnancy have shown to be associated with higher risk of venous thrombosis embolism (VTE) and hypertension in mothers and C-section deliveries.

  • Most infected mothers deliver without complications but there is an increased risk of preterm (less than 37 weeks gestation) delivery among COVID-positive mothers, especially for those who become severely ill. This has led to increased admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), higher risk of breathing problems and jaundice among these babies.

  • Prenatal transmission to the fetus is likely rare as the virus has not been detected in amniotic fluid or placenta.

  • Exposure to the baby can occur during/after delivery through exposure/contact with mother's respiratory secretions and less commonly, urine and stool. There appears to be no higher risk of transmission during C-section deliveries compared to vaginal deliveries.

  • COVID-19 infection rate in newborns appear to be overall low and most are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms only.

  • Premature infants may be at higher risk for more severe symptoms.

  • Infants born to mothers with known COVID-19 will be tested in the hospital.

  • COVID-19 virus has not been detected in breast milk of infected mothers but transmission is likely to occur through close contact during breastfeeding. Given this risk, some infected mothers may consider pumping and feeding until they are out of quarantine.

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