A number of health organizations have reviewed the current evidence about coronavirus (COVID-19) and pregnancy, and released information. BORN Ontario has summarized this information below. This content will be updated as new evidence becomes available.

 What we know now:  

  • Pregnancy does not appear to increase a person’s risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.
  • Clinical signs and symptoms of a COVID-19 infection are usually the same in pregnant and non-pregnant people, which can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, fatigue and sore throat.
  • The majority of pregnant people in Ontario are healthy and considered low-risk, with no pre-existing health conditions. Healthy pregnant people infected with COVID-19 usually have mild symptoms and recover at home without needing hospital care.
  • Experts are not sure yet, but it seems that during pregnancy and birth the risk of transmission is low from a COVID-19 infected mother to their baby. After birth, the COVID-19 infected mother could pass the virus to the newborn if infection control measures are not taken, but the risk of transmission is unknown at this time.
  • Most babies born to COVID-19 infected mothers are usually healthy and do not require hospitalization, but some may be born too early or too small and might need longer hospital stays.

What to expect during labour and birth:

  • Pregnant people may identify one support person for the duration of their labour and birth. This support person needs to be free of signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 infection, follow physical distancing and infection control instructions. This is important since some people can have a COVID-19 infection, without any signs and/or symptoms.
  • Birthing facilities will welcome one support person if they have the following resources:
    • staff available to screen the support person for COVID-19 and to ensure he/she complies with infection control measures
    • enough space to maintain a safe distance from others
    • personal protective equipment for the support person, such as masks and gowns 
  • Keeping mothers and babies together continues to be recommended. This may not be possible for some COVID-19 infected mothers, because of maternal/newborn health concerns and available hospital resources. If separation is warranted, care providers should discuss reasons.
  • Breastfeeding is still encouraged in infected people since it appears that COVID-19 does not transfer into breastmilk. Infected mothers should wear a mask and wash their hands and breast/chest area before breastfeeding.
  • Testing newborns for COVID-19 of infected mothers is recommended within 24 hours of birth.

It is important to continue to see your care provider for prenatal appointments and follow their recommendations.

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