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Coronavirus (COVID-19) during Pregnancy

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s OB/GYN and Maternity Departments continue to deliver high-quality health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that there are many questions and concerns about what this outbreak will mean during pregnancy locally. The following resources describe what patients and families can expect at MVH when admitted for labor and delivery:

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • We do not currently know if pregnant people have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have a serious illness as a result. Based on available information, pregnant people seem to have the same risk as adults who are not pregnant.

However, we do know that

  • Pregnant people have changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections
  • Pregnant people have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza.

Pregnant peoples should protect themselves from COVID-19

  • Avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus.
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

Risks to the pregnancy and to the baby

  • Pregnant people have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza.
  • It is always important for pregnant people to protect themselves from illnesses.

Mother-to-Child Transmission

  • Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth, a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread
  • A very small number of babies have tested positive for the virus shortly after birth. However, it is unknown if these babies got the virus before or after birth
  • The virus has not been detected in amniotic fluid, breastmilk, or other maternal samples.

Breastfeeding if you have COVID-19

  • Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants.
  • You, along with your family and healthcare providers, should decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding
  • In limited studies, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk: however, we do not know for sure whether a mother with COVID-19 can spread the virus vis breast milk.
  • If you are sick and choose to direct breastfeed:
    • Wear a facemask and wash your hands before each feeding.
  • If you are sick and choose to express breast milk
    • Express breast milk to establish and maintain milk supply.
    • A dedicated breast pump should be provided.
    • Wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk.
    • Follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use, cleaning all parts that come into contact with breast milk.
    • If possible, consider having someone who is not sick feed the expressed breast milk to the Infant.

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