COVID-19: Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

It’s day 46,974 of lock-down. You’re pregnant and on the cusp of labor, you’ve given birth and now are trying to get the hang of feeding your baby, or you newly pregnant and you’ve got a swirl of emotions running around with the current climate of affairs in the world.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

No matter where you’re at in this journey, know you’re not alone.

By now, you’re probably aware of what the novel coronavirus is, but if you would like to get more familiar or learn more, you can find information here.

Luckily, doctors and researchers around the world are working around the clock to get us the most updated and accurate information as possible (thank you to the dedicated essential workers out there!).

So, let’s jump right in to discover what the newest updates are out there for those who are pregnant, getting ready for labor, or breastfeeding!

Pregnant Women Should Still Follow the CDC Guidelines to Stay Safe
The CDC has put guidelines into place with the hopes of keeping everyone safe, these being 1) wearing a mask out in public and 2) staying at least 6 feet apart, or, social distancing. In addition to these, always wash your hands (or at least using hand sanitizer at 60% alcohol or higher), try not to touch your face, limit your contact with others, and keep essential items in stock at home.

And please, please, please…keep your prenatal appointments. Depending on your doctor’s office procedures, you may be screened for symptoms before coming in. This typically involves some questions and asking about your health. Some doctor’s offices may even elect to have a virtual visit or phone visit. Just, for your part, don’t cancel. These visits are not only for making sure you and your baby’s health are taken care of, but also a good chance for you to ask questions and discuss your concerns further.

Continue Taking Your Vitamins
This might seem like a no-brainer, but even if you’ve already given birth, your prenantal vitamins are still so good for you. You can also add to them a little extra Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc. Add to this enough rest, plenty of fluids, and some regular exercise, and you’re doing your part!

You can learn more about boosting your immune system here.

Consider Your Birthing Options
The ACOG (American College of Gynecology) says that even amidst the virus, the safest places to give birth are in the hospital, a birthing center, or a hospital-based birthing center, because of the availability of resources should problems arise and the strict cleaning protocols put into place. There are several safe options for giving birth, and it’s important that you are aware of those options. You can read more about birth place options here.

If You’re Breastfeeding, Keep It Up
We’re still learning whether COVID can be passed along through breast milk, but what we do know is that breast milk protects your baby from infection by producing antibodies (especially those infections affecting the ears, lungs, and digestive system).

If you suspect you’ve been exposed to someone with the virus or are starting to show symptoms yourself, follow the same guidelines: wash your hands, wear a protective face covering, and (if you’re pumping) thoroughly clean your pump and all its parts.

Ultimately, breast milk is the best protection for your baby when it comes to germs and infections. Even though we’re still learning about COVID, the research we do have says it’s very unlikely it can be passed through breast milk, so keep nursing those babies!

Seek Help If You Need It
I know this is a very scary time, especially when our babies are involved, but always know you’re not alone. If you find yourself needing advice, support, or information, check out your local resources including (but not limited to):

  • Your local OB-GYN
  • WIC or Health Department
  • Nearest La Leche League chapter
  • An IBCLC
  • Counseling services

Lock-down will eventually end. Life will resume, just maybe with a little different normal. Keep yourself safe, take it day by day, and know that you have people who are ready and willing to support you.

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