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COVID-19 and pregnancy: There's a lot the experts don't know

CDC has some guidance
Posted at 11:21 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 23:21:56-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- There's a common theme from the Centers for Disease Control in its guidance to pregnant women. The experts just don't have many solid answers.

Do pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public? The CDC says there's no specific answer yet. What is known is that pregnant women with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 carry a higher risk of developing severe illness.

The CDC says pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. That means regular hand cleaning with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding people who are sick, and covering your cough,

Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy or the baby? Experts at the CDC say it too early to know if the virus can cause problems during a pregnancy or affect the health of a baby after birth.

It's also not clear if a pregnant woman can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. There have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy.

What about breastfeeding? The CDC says much is unknown about how the virus is spread, including whether a mother can transmit COVID-19 through breast milk. The CDC says decisions about whether to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers.

A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is symptomatic should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant. That includes wearing a face mask, if possible, during breastfeeding and washing hands before touching the baby.