Home > The Impact of Covid-19 on Pregnant Women & their Babies

Pregnant women and those in close-contact with them must take necessary precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19. In case of symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty in breathing), they should consult a doctor immediately.

Are pregnant women more at risk of contracting COVID-19 than others?

Pregnant women do not appear to be at greater risk than others of contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. However, studies have shown that the risk of contracting a severe form of COVID-19 is greater for a pregnant woman than for a woman of the same age who is not pregnant. COVID-19 during pregnancy has also been linked to an increased likelihood of premature birth.

Pregnant women, who are of a certain age, are overweight, or have health problems, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are particularly at risk of contracting a severe form of COVID-19.

Can COVID-19 be passed from a woman to her unborn child or newborn?

We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can transmit the virus to the foetus during pregnancy or to the baby during childbirth. To date, the presence of the virus has not been observed in samples of fluid in which the foetus is bathed or in breast milk.

Should pregnant women be tested for COVID-19?

The protocols and criteria for screening during pregnancy differ depending on where you live.
However, the WHO recommends that pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19 be screened as a priority. If the test comes back positive, they may need specialized care.

Vaccination during Pregnancy: Can pregnant women be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Yes, vaccine is safe for pregnant women and they can be vaccinated against COVID-19, after consulting a doctor.

Data to assess the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy is currently limited. However, from what has been said so far, of the types of vaccines used, there is no particular reason for concern. None of the COVID-19 vaccines licensed to date are made from live viruses, and it is live virus vaccines that are more likely to pose a risk during pregnancy.

Vaccine for pregnant women: Before getting vaccinated, pregnant women should consult a doctor to find out whether the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks.

Pregnant women who can benefit the most from vaccination are most at risk of contracting COVID-19, such as frontline caregivers, women living in areas with high transmission and those with health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which increase the risk of severe form.

Can I touch and hug my newborn baby if I have COVID-19?

Yes. Close contact and early breastfeeding help the newborn to develop well. Just:

• Breastfeed your baby safely, respecting the rules of respiratory hygiene;

• Hold your newborn baby skin to skin and

• Share your baby’s room.

You should wash your hands before and after touching the baby, and keep all the surfaces clean. In case of symptoms, mothers are advised to wear a mask when in close contact with the baby.

What care should be available during pregnancy and childbirth?

All pregnant women, including those with confirmed or suspected infection with the COVID-19 virus, have the right to quality care before, during and after childbirth.

For a positive and safe childbirth experience, one must:

• Be treated with respect and dignity;

• Be accompanied by the person of their choice during childbirth;

• Clear communication from maternity staff;

• Solutions adapted to relieve pain;

• Mobility during labor, if possible

In the event of infection or suspicion of infection with the COVID-19 virus, health workers must take all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of infection for themselves and for others, including following good hand hygiene and using appropriate protective clothing such as gloves, gown and mask.

Vaccine for pregnant mother: I am pregnant. How can I protect myself against COVID-19?

Pregnant women should take the same precautions as other people to avoid infection with the COVID-19 virus. To protect yourself, you must:

• Wash your hands frequently

• Maintain a distance between yourself and others and avoid crowded places.

• Wear a non-medical fabric mask if it is not possible to maintain sufficient physical distance between yourself and others.

• Observe the rules of respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with the bend of your elbow or with a tissue if you have a cough or sneeze. Then throw away the used tissue immediately afterwards.

In case of fever, cough and breathing difficulties, see a doctor right away. Call before going to a health facility and follow the instructions of local health authorities.

• Pregnant women and those who have just given birth should attend their usual medical consultations, in accordance with local policies and following appropriate measures to reduce the possible transmission of the virus.

No woman should hesitate because vaccines safe during pregnancy.

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