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COVID-19 and Pregnancy: FAQs

May 7, 2020

 

Blue Wash your hands Coronavirus Instagram Post 95

 

1. Will my baby be affected if I am diagnosed with COVID-19 infection during pregnancy?

As this is a new disease, there is limited information about the effects of COVID-19 infection on the foetus.

 

COVID-19 infection during pregnancy

 

The Chinese study on seven pregnant women with COVID-19 pneumonia in the third trimester delivered healthy babies. Four infants were discharged without any testing for COVID-19, and did not have any respiratory symptoms or pathological jaundice during follow up at 28 days after birth. Three infants were tested, of which one was positive for COVID-19 at 36 hours after birth. The positive infant had no fever or cough but had mild shortness of breath, which resolved with medical care. At follow up 28 days after birth, the three infants were healthy and did not have any respiratory symptoms.

 

Another study of nine pregnant British women infected with COVID-19 in the third trimester also concluded that the babies were well after delivery. Six of the babies were tested at birth and found not to have the virus.

There is currently no research findings on the effect of COVID-19 on the foetus if the mother gets infected in the first or second trimester, or in patients with severe infection.

 

 

2. Will I be able to breastfeed my baby if I have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection?

There is currently no evidence of the virus detected in breast milk. The main risk of breastfeeding is that the close contact between you and the baby may lead to the virus spreading to the baby.

 

COVID-19 infection

 

On the other hand, breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby. There are many other benefits of breastfeeding, including boosting your baby’s immune system as antibodies are secreted into breast milk, and protection against other illnesses such as allergies and obesity.

(Click here to read about the other benefits of breastfeeding:

https://www.healthxchange.sg/women/post-pregnancy/breastfeeding-health-benefits-baby)

 

As such, the decision to breastfeed should be discussed with your family and maternity healthcare team.

 

If you choose to breastfeed your baby, it is recommended to wash your hands, and wear a facemask.

 

If you choose to express breast milk and have someone else do the feeding:

  • Use a dedicated breast pump, and wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts.
  • Wear a facemask during expressing.
  • Follow recommendations for proper sterilisation of the breast pump after use.

 

 

If you are pregnant or a new mother, and anxious about the health of your baby during this period, do not hesitate to speak to our doctors.

 

Teleconsultation is available. Fill in the form below for enquiry:

 

 


References:

  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (UK)

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

  • CDC (USA) Guidelines

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html

Luo, Y. & Yin, K. (2020). Management of pregnant women infected with COVID-19. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30191-2

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