Your Breastfeeding Journey

FAQ on COVID-19 and the effect on pregnancy and fetus

Medela provides information for healthcare professionals and mothers through uncertain times. We have gathered the frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19, pregnancy and the baby. Medela provides answers based on the latest information and research from health authorities such as the WHO and the CDC.

Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with COVID-19?

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists state that pregnant women do not appear to be more susceptible to the consequences of infection with COVID-19 than the general population. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. It is known that with viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. This is why the CDC says it is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

Can COVID-19 affect the fetus during pregnancy? 

At this time there is still not enough evidence to know if a pregnant woman who has COVID-19 can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy or at the birth. The WHO are working to increase knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 transmission.

A small number of problems with pregnancy or birth (e.g. preterm birth) have been reported in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, the research findings show that pregnant or recently pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit or need respiratory support when compared with non-pregnant women of reproductive age.  

Pregnant with COVID-19 will baby be immune? 

Currently, there is some limited research which suggests that protective antibodies can be transferred across the placenta during pregnancy if the mother has had COVID-19.

What happens when a woman with COVID-19 gives birth? 

According to AAP new guidance on July 22, 2020 regarding separation of mums and babies, it is possible for mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to room-in with their newborns when precautions are taken to protect the infants from maternal infectious respiratory secretions.

As stated by the CDC, if there is need for prolonged separation, because the mother needs medical care for herself, providing the baby with expressed breast milk is recommended. If possible, a dedicated breast pump should be provided. If it is not possible to dedicate a breast pump to a COVID-19 positive mother, the mother can use a multi user breast pump. Special care must be taken to clean and disinfect the breast pump prior to it being used by another mother.


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