The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Limited information is available about SARS-CoV-2 infection in U.S pregnant women.

Cough (more than 50 percent) and shortness of breath (30 percent) were reported by symptomatic pregnant and non-pregnant women with COVID-19, but headache, muscle aches, fever, chills, and diarrhea were less frequently reported by pregnant women. More frequently recorded among pregnant women than among non-pregnant women were chronic lung disease, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease. Generally, the diagnosis of COVID-19 is confirmed by a positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2.

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) study suggests that approximately one third (31.5%) of pregnant women were reported to have been hospitalized compared with 5.8% of nonpregnant women.COVID-19 pregnant women are at high risk of requiring mechanical ventilation and admission to the intensive care unit ( ICU). The risk of death is equal for both groups. But a great deal remains unknown.

PRIORITY: Pregnancy Coronavirus Outcomes Registry is a United States study of pregnant or recently pregnant women. They are either under investigation or have been reported to be infected with COVID-19. The purpose of the research is to better understand how pregnant women are affected by COVID-19, including what their symptoms are, how long they last, and how their pregnancy and/or delivery could be affected by COVID-19.

Guidance on prenatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic is being given by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), including general recommendations for testing and preventing the spread of COVID-19, prenatal and postnatal visits, and hospital discharge.

Current research suggests that breast milk may not be capable of transmitting the virus to infants. Pregnant women along with their family and healthcare providers, should decide when and how to begin or continue breastfeeding. We do not know for sure whether mothers with COVID-19 can transfer the virus to babies in breast milk, although current evidence suggests that this is not likely. When pregnant women have COVID-19 and want to breastfeed, wash hands beforehand and wear a mask when breastfeeding.

COVID-19 pregnant women, if plan to express breast milk, should use a dedicated breast pump (not shared).  They should wear a mask during expression and wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching any parts of the pump or bottle. Consider seeking a good caregiver that does not have COVID-19 and remains in the same home to provide the baby with pumped breast milk. Every caregiver feeding the baby should wear a mask when taking care of the child.  

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