Pregnant women are advised to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus because they have 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 women to protect themselves from illnesses.
Some of the guidelines to prevent or reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 include -avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus, cleaning hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.
Breastfeeding and COVID-19: What you need to know
If you are breastfeeding and have symptoms of or confirmed COVID-19, take the following steps to avoid spreading the virus to your baby:
- Always wash your hands before touching your baby.
- Always wear a face mask, while feeding at the breast.
- Wash your hands before touching the pump or bottle parts and clean/sterilize all parts of the pump after each use.
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 few studies, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk, however we do not know for sure whether mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus via breast milk.Can Breastfeeding Protect Infants From Viruses? The Answer Is………
If you choose to directly 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 well to feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.
Hospital-based post-partum care for COVID-positive mothers and their infants
Mothers with suspected or proven COVID-19 and their infants should not be completely separated. Mothers and infants should be allowed to remain together after potential risks and benefits of rooming-in have been discussed.
As such, when a mother has suspected or proven COVID-19, voluntary separation may be considered as a recommendation in the future. Currently, however, postnatal infection prevention efforts should be focused on limiting the risk of transmission through enhanced hygiene.
Mothers can practice skin-to-skin care while in the hospital with some modifications to usual processes. Among the precautions, mothers should wear a mask when near their baby and practice proper hand hygiene before skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding and routine baby care.
Mother and baby should be discharged home as soon as they are deemed ready so that they are not exposed to any kind of infection.