World Health Organization recommendations for COVID-19: pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding

March 20, 2020

Research is currently underway to understand the impacts of COVID 19 infection on pregnant women. Data are limited, but at present there is no evidence that they are at higher risk of severe illness than the general population.

However, due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some respiratory infections. It is therefore important that they take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19, and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty breathing) to their healthcare provider.

If you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call before going to a health facility, and follow the directions of your local health authority.

Pregnant women and women who have recently delivered – including those affected by COVID-19 – should attend their routine care appointments. However, WHO recommendations are that pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19 should be prioritized for testing. If they have COVID-19, they may need specialized care.

We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. To date, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.

Women with COVID-19 can breastfeed if they wish to do so. They should:

  • Practice respiratory hygiene during feeding, wearing a mask where available;
  • Wash hands before and after touching the baby;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces they have touched.

See full article: Q&A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding

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