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COVID-19 and Pregnancy

COVID-19, Vaccines, Breastfeeding and Pregnancy

Mary Washington Healthcare cares about the health and safety of our pregnant moms and their babies. The following information should help answer some of your questions regarding COVID-19 testing for OB patients, vaccine safety, visitation in the hospital, and more. If you have additional questions about COVID-19 and pregnancy, we encourage you to reach out to your OB, or call MWHC Health Link at 540.741.1100.

COVID and pregnancy

Here is guidance based on the latest science:

  • Pregnant women might be at greater risk of severe illness than other healthy adults if they get the virus.
  • It is unlikely for a woman to transmit the virus to their baby while pregnant. However, it may be possible to transmit after the baby is born via respiratory particles; wearing a mask lowers this risk.
  • There are rare reports where the virus has been detected in samples of the breastmilk, blood, placenta, and amniotic fluid of infected pregnant women.
  • The baby is unlikely to be exposed to the virus during pregnancy.
  • The virus is unlikely to cause problems with the baby’s development and no long-term problems have been found so far.

Nevertheless, if you are pregnant public health officials recommend you take certain safety precautions.

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay away from public places.
  • Reduce social contact with others through social distancing.
  • Avoid anyone who has symptoms of the virus.
  • Routinely clean any surfaces after each use.
  • Refrain from touching your face.

COVID and breastfeeding

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommend you continue to breastfeed your baby.

  • There are rare reports where the virus has been detected in samples of the breastmilk, although it remains unclear if the virus can be transmitted through breastfeeding.
  • The virus can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing, and even breathing - small droplets can spread the virus from person to person.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results, follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before you touch your baby.
  • Wear a mask during feedings. Your doctor may recommend using a breast pump and avoid feeding at the breast directly until your symptoms resolve.
  • Wash your hands before touching breast pumps or any parts.
  • After pumping, clean the pump and its parts thoroughly.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect any surface you touch.

Vaccine safety when pregnant or breastfeeding

What if I am pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant or breastfeeding?

This information is related to the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

The COVID vaccine has not yet been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, women who are pregnant are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommends pregnant women have access to the vaccine. Talking with your healthcare provider can help you make an informed decision and address your concerns or risks.

Although no data is available at this time, if you plan on becoming pregnant, it is recommended that you receive the vaccine.

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine report that it is very unlikely that the vaccine gets into breastmilk. The vaccine does not contain the virus, so there is no risk of infecting your baby. The antibodies our bodies produce when we have an infection or get a vaccine can pass into the breastmilk and then to the baby - and may help prevent infections.

The vaccines do not alter a person’s DNA, so receiving the vaccine has no impact on the DNA of the mother or baby.

For additional information, download our COVID-19 Vaccine for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women flier.

COVID-19 positive OB patients

What if I test positive for COVID-19 upon admission or prior to my c-section?

We are taking extra steps to make our facilities as safe as possible so we can continue to provide quality care to our patients. If you test positive for COVID-19, special protocols are put in place to keep you, our associates and other patients safe. Except in rare occurrences where mom or baby have severe symptoms and need special care, such as the ICU or NICU, you will not be separated from your baby, even if you test positive for COVID-19.

Reducing the likelihood of exposure prior to delivery is the best way for you to have the delivery experience you’ve anticipated. These include wearing a mask outside of the home, quality handwashing, social distancing, and avoiding crowds especially non-essential outings or gatherings.

For questions, contact your OB or call MWHC Health Link at 540.741.1100.

Visitation for Labor & Delivery

Obstetrics Patients Visitation Details and Exceptions

  • Obstetrics (laboring and postpartum) patients can have one designated caregiver who remains with them in their treatment room.
  • A certified doula is permitted in the treatment room during labor and delivery, in addition to the designated caregiver.
  • The designated caregiver can remain with the patient in their treatment room for the entirety of their stay.
  • The designated caregiver may be instructed to leave the room during a procedure or test for their own safety or the safety of the patient and staff.
  • The designated caregiver must comply with MWHC visitation safety standards while in an MWHC facility.
  • The designated caregiver will be provided a visitor pass each day at the safety checkpoint entrance.

COVID-19 Obstetrics Patient Visitation Details and Exceptions

  • Obstetrics (laboring and postpartum) patients being tested or suspected for COVID-19 or have a positive COVID-19 test result may have one support person as a designated caregiver who remain with them in their treatment room.
  • The designated caregiver can remain with the patient in their treatment room for the entirety of their stay.
  • The designated caregiver may be instructed to leave the room during a procedure or test for their own safety or the safety of the patient and staff.
  • The designated caregiver must comply with the COVID-19 safety guidelines for visitation:
    • Sign a waiver acknowledging the risks of COVID-19 transmission.
    • Wear personal protective equipment including a gown, gloves, face shield, and level 1 mask always while in the patient's treatment room.
    • Review infection prevention education with the nursing staff prior to entering the patient’s treatment room.
  • The designated caregiver will be provided a visitor pass each day at the safety checkpoint entrance.
  • The designated caregiver must comply with MWHC visitation safety standards while in an MWHC facility.
  • Only designated caregivers or clergy may visit a suspected or positive COVID-19 patient. General visitation is not allowed.

Visitation for NICU/ILN

NICU/ILN Visitation Details and Exceptions

  • NICU patients can have up to two parents or legal guardians as designated caregivers. Only one designated caregiver at a time can be with the patient.
  • The designated caregiver can remain with the patient in their treatment room for the entirety of their stay.
  • The designated caregiver may be instructed to leave the room during a procedure or test for their own safety or the safety of the patient and staff.
  • The designated caregiver will be provided a visitor pass each day at the safety checkpoint entrance.
  • The designated caregiver must comply with MWHC visitation safety standards while in an MWHC facility.
  • Only designated caregivers or clergy may visit NICU patients. General visitation is not allowed.

COVID-19 NICU Visitation Details and Exceptions

  • NICU patients being tested or suspected for COVID-19 or have a positive COVID-19 test result may have up to two parents or legal guardians as designated caregivers. Only one designated caregiver at a time can be with the patient.
  • The designated caregiver can remain with the patient in their treatment room for the entirety of their stay.
  • The designated caregiver may be instructed to leave the room during a procedure or test for their own safety or the safety of the patient and staff.
  • The designated caregiver must comply with the COVID-19 safety guidelines for visitation:
    • Sign a waiver acknowledging the risks of COVID-19 transmission.
    • Wear personal protective equipment including a gown, gloves, face shield, and level 1 mask always while in the patients’ treatment room.
    • Review infection prevention education with the nursing staff prior to entering the patient’s treatment room.
  • The designated caregiver will be provided a visitor pass each day at the safety checkpoint entrance.
  • The designated caregiver must comply with MWHC visitation safety standards while in an MWHC facility.
  • Only designated caregivers or clergy may visit a suspected or positive COVID-19 patient. General visitation is not allowed.

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