COVID-19 is a new illness, and scientists are still learning how it affects pregnancy and a newborn baby’s health.
How does COVID-19 affect pregnancy?
At this time, scientists don’t know:
If pregnant people have a higher chance of getting COVID-19.
If pregnant people are more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19.
If COVID-19 can cause problems during pregnancy or delivery.
If COVID-19 can affect the health of your fetus or newborn.
People who are pregnant may have a higher risk of getting certain illnesses (like the flu), or getting very sick from these illnesses. But scientists don’t know if this is true for COVID-19. If you’re pregnant, it’s important to try to stay as healthy as you can by doing your best to avoid COVID-19 and other illnesses.
You can help protect yourself by doing the same things others are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. You can also use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol in it.
- Stay home and avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with other people as much as you can, especially if they’re sick.
- If you do have to go out, wear a cloth face mask any time you’re in public. Learn how to make and wear cloth face coverings on the CDC website.
- Avoid touching your face unless your hands are clean.
How does COVID-19 affect breastfeeding?
Scientists don’t know if a baby can get COVID-19 through breast milk — so far, tests have not found the COVID-19 virus in breast milk. But if you have COVID-19, it may be possible to pass it to your baby while you are breastfeeding. That’s because COVID-19 spreads easily during close contact with other people, through unwashed hands or small liquid droplets that come out of your nose and mouth when you cough, sneeze, or breathe out.
If you’re feeling sick, think you have COVID-19, or have had contact with someone who has COVID-19, call your doctor for more information on how to safely care for yourself and your baby, including feeding them. If you breastfeed and may have COVID-19, take precautions to avoid spreading it to your baby, like:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before you touch your baby or any breastfeeding equipment, like breast pumps and bottle parts.
- Properly clean and disinfect surfaces, bottles, and breast pump parts.
- Wear a face mask while you’re breastfeeding.
- If possible, have someone who isn’t sick feed pumped breast milk to your baby.
If you need food assistance and breastfeeding support as a person who is pregnant, breastfeeding, or the parent of a child under 5, you can contact your local WIC program. If you’re an immigrant, WIC assistance does not count against you when applying for a green card or visa under the Public Charge rule.