COVID-19: Pregnancy and Breast Milk

Many new and expecting mothers have questions and concerns about COVID-19 impacting their newborn’s well being and administering care for the newborn. Below, you will find Lawrence General Hospital’s discharged recommendations for mothers with suspected or positive with COVID-19.

Is my baby at risk of getting COVID-19 before it is born?

There is no suggested evidence of babies contracting COVID-19 while still in the mother’s womb. Our team has understood this through studies on the placenta, amniotic fluid and even nasal swabs of newborns.

What if someone at home has tested positive or is suspected of contracting COVID-19? Is my newborn safe?

The newborn should have a separate sleep environment at least 6 feet away from the mother and any other individual in the home with suspected or positive COVID-19. Anyone performing newborn care should be wearing a face mask and wash hands thoroughly.

Can I still care for my baby if I have tested positive for COVID-19, or am showing symptoms of the virus?

Mothers are encouraged to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from the baby. The baby can be reunited with the mother once mother is fever free for 72 hours without using any fever reducers and seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Wear a cloth face covering during the feeding and wash your hands and your breasts before each feeding.

I’m nervous about my breast milk containing COVID-19. Is this possible?

As of right now, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk. Mothers that wish to breastfeed should continue to pump. If you are still in isolation, the pumped breast milk can then be fed to the baby by a healthy caregiver.

Wear a cloth face covering during expression, wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk.

If I tested positive or am suspected of contracting COVID-19, how do I determine follow up care for my newborn?

Newborn follow up care will be determined by the Pediatric Care Provider.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

  • Wear a face mask when you leave your home. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. Look for one that is 60% or higher alcohol based.
  • Reduce close contact with others by practicing social distancing. This means staying home as much as possible and avoiding public places where close contact with others is likely.
  • ​If you work in the health care field, we highly recommend that you do not care for COVID-19 patients once you have reached your 36-week mark of pregnancy. This includes caring for patients with respiratory illnesses.