Pregnancy and coronavirus: Moms may be wondering

FAIRMONT — Pregnancy can be an exciting time, but being pregnant during a pandemic may give expectant mothers a whole new set of questions.

Dr. Chaun Cox is a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato. He shared some of the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding COVID-19 and pregnancy.

Cox pointed out that COVID-19 is a novel virus and they are learning new things every day.

He said they do not know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public, or if they are more likely to become seriously ill as a result.

Cox said pregnant women do experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. He suggested that pregnant women do the same things as the general public to avoid infection, such as avoiding people who are sick and washing their hands often.

“We also still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery,” Cox noted.

However, he said no infants born to mothers with the virus have tested positive for it. In those few cases, the virus also was not found in samples of breast milk.

Patti Kasper is the supervisor of Healthy Families America, a program that connects families to resources, support and education for parenting. She is also a registered nurse and an international board-certified lactation consultant with Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties. She also oversees the Fairmont Area Baby Cafe.

The Baby Cafe combines breastfeeding information with a relaxed, informal environment where mothers can chat and learn about breastfeeding from skilled practitioners and one another. While the cafe has been up and running for about two years, it is on hold right now.

She has had several women reach out to her and ask if it’s still OK to breastfeed during this time.

“We’re really going off what the CDC is saying,” she said. “If a mom is breastfeeding and has signs or symptoms of respiratory illness, we would have her take the same precautions as they’re asking everyone else to take.”

Kasper said mothers who are pumping should sterilize their equipment. She said that if a breastfeeding mom has symptoms, she should continue to breastfeed but contact her health care provider with any questions.

“From the studies I’ve read, the virus hasn’t been detected in amniotic fluid or breast milk, so health care providers are still encouraging breastfeeding because of all the benefits,” Kasper said.


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