Pregnancy During The Time of Coronavirus

The WHO just declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. “A pandemic is a global outbreak of a serious new illness that requires “sustained transmission throughout the world.”¹ 

Since this is a new virus, no one has any built up immunity. That said, the coronavirus is killing mostly older adults with underlying health conditions. Based on the limited information currently available, it appears that pregnant women are no more likely than anyone else to have severe symptoms. That said, this is a new virus and there is little information, so it is best to take preventative measures to avoid catching it in the first place. 

Fortunately, if you are expecting, “there [is] no evidence of vertical transmission from mother to child,” said Dr. Wei Zhang, an epidemiologist at Northwestern University.²

If your due date is approaching, there are some precautions you can take to make sure delivery goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Learn the COVID-19 contingency plans of your care providers 
  • Keep up with news and alerts from the hospital or birth center at which you plan to deliver 
  • Create a backup plan that covers the possibility of “birthing in place” (i.e., staying where you are, usually at home, to give birth)
  • Remember to check with your pediatrician, since after your baby is born you will need to schedule a visit

Also, keep in mind that pregnant women have altered immune systems, which can leave them at a higher risk for severe complications if exposed to viruses like the flu. Some respiratory illnesses can also cause critical illness in very young babies. However, based on available data, neither of these patterns have been seen so far with Covid-19.

Click here for the CDC’s Guidance on Breastfeeding and Caring for Newborns if You Have COVID-19

Other helpful resources:

Wash your hands and stay safe out there!