Pregnancy and Breastfeeding During COVID-19

Published: August 25, 2021

Carol Fucigna, MD, Interim Chair, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Asha K. Shah, Director of Infectious Diseases

Bringing a baby into the world comes with all sorts of emotions and challenges. But due to COVID-19, you may be more concerned and overwhelmed than excited about bringing home a newborn when many factors are uncertain. Know that you’re not alone.

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Many of our expectant mothers and their birthing partners at Stamford Health have been coming to us with questions about pregnancy and breastfeeding. Your and your baby’s health is our top priority, which is why we plan to keep you as informed as possible.

Do I, as a pregnant woman, have a higher chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than everyone else?

Yes, pregnant and recently pregnant women are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 than people who are not pregnant and otherwise healthy.

Also, there is no evidence as of now that the COVID-19 virus passes through the placenta to the baby before birth.

I'm pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC strongly recommends vaccination for people 12 years of age and older, including pregnant and lactating women. Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine has been growing, and data tells us that the benefits of receiving the vaccine outweigh any potential or known risk factors of being vaccinated during pregnancy. Read more about this on the CDC's website.

As always, please speak with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?

No! This is a myth. See this infographic from the CT Department of Public Health to learn how this myth got started and why it is untrue. And see this one (also from the CT Department of Health) to read about why it is so important to get vaccinated if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.

What can I expect when I arrive on the labor floor at Stamford Hospital?

If you plan to deliver your baby at Stamford Hospital, thank you for entrusting us with your care. Our goal is to keep you and your baby safe. Here are the steps we're following:

  • When you arrive at the labor floor, you will be tested for COVID-19 with an oro-pharyngeal swab which means we need to go into your nose and throat to collect the sample. The results should take 15-30 minutes.
  • During this time, your partner or support person will be asked to wait in the waiting room.
  • If your results are negative, and your partner does not have any exposure to, or symptoms of, COVID-19, he or she can accompany you to your room.
  • Once admitted, we ask that your support person remain in your room with you. If you or your partner is positive, he or she will not be able to be with you in labor.

Can I breastfeed my baby if I am COVID-19 positive?

Current evidence does not suggest that breast milk can spread COVID-19 to babies, according to the CDC. The concern is whether an infected mother can spread the virus through respiratory droplets during breastfeeding. For this reason, we recommend that women who are COVID-19 positive pump their breast milk and have someone else feed the baby from a bottle. Please note: if you are COVID-19 positive and pumping, wash your hands before and after, and wear a mask when you pump and handle milk.

Is Stamford Health still offering childbirth and parenting classes?

Yes! We are happy to offer virtual options taught by our certified instructors. We encourage you to sign up and take advantage of all the valuable information you'll learn as you approach parenthood.

Where can I get the most up-to-date, correct information? I do not know what sources to trust.

We recommend that you first turn to your doctor for the most up-to-date information.

Featured Expert/ Author

Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine

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