Coronavirus: The Latest on Breastfeeding and Pregnancy


Knowledge is still unfolding, but the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has issued an advisory on the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19; here are the excerpts on breastfeeding and pregnancy:

Pregnancy: very little is known right now on COVID-19’s effect on pregnant women and infants, and it is not clear if COVID-19 can be transmitted to the fetus. Based on previous coronavirus data, pregnant women may be at higher risk of severe illness, morbidity or mortality than the general population, but data is limited. If you have symptoms of fever and acute respiratory illness and have recently traveled, contact your doctor and also share details of your travel. ACOG has provided detailed recommendations to maternal and infant health care providers regarding affected patient care, and their advice will be ongoing and expanded as they learn more.

Breastfeeding: At present the main concern is not whether the virus can be transmitted through breastmilk, but whether an infected mother can transmit it through respiratory droplets during breastfeeding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that in limited case reporting of infants born to mothers with COVID-19 the infants did not test positive nor was the virus detected in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk. Affected mothers should wear a face mask and do hand hygiene before each feeding.

The current knowledge is that the virus is known to be transmitted through respiratory droplets from someone infected. This remains the primary concern.

In addition, if you have children who may be showing signs of worry about the coronavirus, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) offers tips on preventive healthcare measures for families and guidelines on how to talk with children about adverse events and help them put things in perspective.