20 April 2022

Navigating pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Pregnancy is a special time full of excitement and anticipation. But for many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has clouded this time with fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Here is the latest information on pregnancy, COVID-19 and vaccines, as well as expert tips on how to have a safe pregnancy during the pandemic. We will update this article as new…, Jump to:, Understanding my risk How to protect myself Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding COVID-19 vaccines and fertility If I have COVID-19 will I pass it to my baby? Is it safe to continue prenatal check-ups? Giving birth in hospital Can my partner or family member be nearby when I give birth?…, I'm pregnant. Am I at higher risk from COVID-19?, Pregnant women do not seem to be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. However, you are at higher risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19 while pregnant. You are also at higher risk of delivering your baby prematurely if you get COVID-19. That’s why it’s important you – and people around you – take precautions to protect against COVID-19.…, What should I do to protect myself from COVID-19 while pregnant?, Pregnant women should take the same precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as other people. To help protect yourself and people around you: Consider vaccination in consultation with your healthcare provider. Wear a mask where physical distancing from others is not possible. Keep a physical distance from others and avoid poorly ventilated or…, Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant?, Yes, you can get vaccinated if you are pregnant. Although the overall risk of severe illness from COVID-19 remains low, pregnancy puts you at higher risk of severe illness compared to people who are not pregnant. While there is less data available on vaccination of pregnant people, evidence on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy has…, Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m breastfeeding?, Yes, if you are breastfeeding you should take the vaccine as soon as it is available to you. It is very safe and there is no risk to the mother or baby. None of the current COVID-19 vaccines have live virus in them, so there is no risk of you transmitting COVID-19 to your baby through your breastmilk from the vaccine. In fact, the antibodies that…, I plan to have a child. Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?, No, you may have seen false claims on social media, but there is no evidence that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can affect fertility in women or men. You should get vaccinated if you are currently trying to become pregnant., If I have COVID-19 will I pass it to my baby?, We still do not know if the virus can be transmitted from a mother to her unborn or newborn baby. To date, active COVID-19 (virus that causes infection) has not been found in fluid in the womb or breastmilk. The best thing you can do is to take all necessary precautions to prevent yourself from contracting COVID-19. If you’re pregnant or have just…, Is it safe to continue prenatal check-ups?, Many expectant mothers are fearful of going to appointments while they are taking precautions, such as staying home and practicing physical distancing when outside. Find out what options are available to you from your healthcare provider. After your child is born, it is also important to continue receiving professional support and guidance,…, I was planning on giving birth in a hospital or healthcare clinic. Is this still a good option?, The risk involved depends on where you live. For the safest option for you, it is important to speak to the healthcare professional who is supporting you through your pregnancy and birth. They will be able to advise you on the risks and the safest option depending on your personal situation and local health care system., Can my partner or family member be nearby when I give birth?, While policies vary by country, you should have someone nearby to support you, as long as the proper precautions are taken, such as wearing a mask while in the delivery room and washing hands. As Franka Cadée, President of the International Confederation of Midwives, told us: “I can understand that you want to reduce the number of people with a…, I’m feeling incredibly anxious about giving birth. What should I do to cope?, The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful and uncertain time for everyone, and especially for those about to give birth. Having a plan in place for your birth can help ease feelings of anxiety by giving you more of a sense of control, but also recognize that some aspects may need to change depending on the situation where you live. Your plan…, What questions should I be asking my healthcare provider?, It is important to establish a trusting relationship with your healthcare provider. “All of those questions that have to do with you and your health, I would ask them freely,” says Franka Cadée, President of the International Confederation of Midwives. “If you have an open relationship with your healthcare provider – with your midwife, with your…, I have COVID-19. What should I expect during pregnancy or childbirth?, If you have or suspect you may have COVID-19, it is important to seek medical care early and follow instructions from your health care provider. Remember that you and your child have the right to high quality care throughout your pregnancy and after childbirth. You should be supported to: Breastfeed safely (see breastfeeding tips during COVID-19)…, I have COVID-19. Can I safely breastfeed my baby?, Yes. Transmission of active COVID-19 (virus that can cause infection) through breast milk and breastfeeding has not been detected to date, so there is no reason to stop or avoid breastfeeding. If you have or suspect you may have the COVID-19 virus, it is important to seek medical care early and follow instructions from your health care provider.…, Once I have given birth, what can I do to protect my newborn from the COVID-19 virus?, The level of risk involved depends on where you live. As a starting point, check for any relevance guidance from your local authorities. You should take more precautions in areas with higher rates of COVID-19 transmission and lower levels of vaccinations. If the risk is higher where you live, then consider sticking to just your family and not…
30 July 2021

Frequent Asked Questions: COVID-19 vaccines and breastfeeding

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been developed jointly by the IFE Core Group , UNICEF , and the COVID-19 Infant Feeding Working Group based on the most recent World Health Organisation (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE):, Should women currently breastfeeding or providing expressed milk receive the vaccines?, Yes. WHO SAGE recommends that if a lactating woman is part of a ‘high risk group’ e.g. health worker or part of a group recommended for vaccination, vaccination CAN be offered. Therefore, healthy individuals currently breast- feeding or expressing milk CAN receive the vaccines. Breastfeeding is vital to the health of infants and their mothers.…, What advice should women currently breastfeeding or expressing milk receive regarding the vaccine?, Lactating women considering receiving the COVID-19 vaccine should have access to information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine including that: Breastfeeding is vital to the health of infants and their mothers. Vaccine efficacy in lactating women is expected to be similar to efficacy in non-lactating women. There are no data on the…, Is it safe for mothers to breastfeed after they are vaccinated?, Yes. For Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA-1273, the WHO SAGE clarifies that: “As the vaccine is not a live virus vaccine and the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell and is degraded quickly, it is biologically and clinically unlikely there is a risk to the breastfeeding child,” and for AZD1222 and Janssen Ad26. COV2.S "as the vaccine is a…, Does the ability to continue breastfeeding or provide expressed milk change after a mother is vaccinated? (i.e. Can/will the vaccine decrease milk supply?), It is highly unlikely that vaccination will have any impact on women’s ability to make milk. The WHO SAGE does NOT recommend stopping breastfeeding after vaccination. Women currently breastfeeding or expressing milk should continue after receiving the vaccine and can be confident that vaccination will not affect their milk supply. Taking the…, Should breastfeeding health workers who opt not to be vaccinated be prioritised for PPE or given assignments with low risk of exposure?, Governments and employers are urged to put measures in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19 exposure for health workers who breastfeed through adequate protection at the workplace. It is important that employers and governments prioritise provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and lower risk assignments to health workers who are…, Building on the International Labor Organisation Standards, how can employers ensure that workers who are breastfeeding or expressing milk but have not received the COVID-19 vaccine maintain their jobs and are protected from any undue consequences?, Governments and employers must respect and uphold the right of women to breastfeed. Workers who are currently breastfeeding should not be forced to leave employment if not vaccinated. They should be supported to remain employed and incentivized to continue breastfeeding whether they receive the vaccine or not., Should there be research undertaken on vaccination of breastfeeding women?, WHO SAGE acknowledged the lack of data for recommending the vaccine to lactating women. Given the importance of breastfeeding, researchers are encouraged to prioritise this topic and provide data on the safety of these vaccines for breastfeeding mothers and their infants. Feedback This guidance will be periodically updated as new evidence emerges…
05 March 2021

Breastfeeding safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you're a mother or expecting, it is only natural to have questions about what is safest for your baby during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Evidence is overwhelmingly in support of breastfeeding. The transmission of COVID-19 through breastfeeding or by giving breastmilk has not been detected. Breastfeeding and skin…, Should I breastfeed during the pandemic?, Yes. There is no evidence to date that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through breastfeeding. Breastmilk provides antibodies that give babies everywhere a healthy boost and protect them against many infections. Breastfeeding significantly reduces the risk of death in newborns and young infants, provides lifelong health benefits for children, and…, Can you pass COVID-19 to your baby by breastfeeding?, To date, active COVID-19 (virus that can cause infection) has not been detected in the breastmilk of any mother with COVID-19, so it is unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted through breastmilk. Researchers are continuing to test breastmilk from mothers with confirmed and suspected COVID-19. >>  Watch our Mini Parenting Master Class on…, Should I breastfeed if I have or suspect I have COVID-19?, Yes, you should continue breastfeeding with appropriate precautions. The transmission of COVID-19 through breastmilk and breastfeeding has not been detected. Precautions include wearing a medical mask if available, washing your hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching your baby, and routinely cleaning…, Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm breastfeeding or providing expressed milk?, Yes, the COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for healthy individuals who are lactating or expressing milk.  , Is it safe to continue breastfeeding after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?, Yes, you should continue breastfeeding after vaccination to protect your baby. None of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines currently being used contain the live virus, so there is no risk of passing the virus to your baby through breastmilk.  , What should I do if I’m too unwell to breastfeed?, If you are feeling too sick to nurse, try to find other ways to safely provide your child with breastmilk. Try expressing milk and giving to your child via a clean cup or spoon. You could also consider donor human milk if available in your area. Speak to your breastfeeding counsellor or healthcare professional about the options available to you.…, Should I breastfeed if my child is sick?, Continue to breastfeed your child if she becomes ill. Whether your little one contracts COVID-19 or another illness, it is important to continue nourishing her with breastmilk. Breastfeeding boosts your baby’s immune system, and your antibodies are passed to her through breastmilk, helping her to fight infections.  , What precautions should I take when breastfeeding?, Make sure to follow handwashing guidelines. Your hands should be washed with soap and water before and after touching your baby. You may also use an alcohol-based hand rub. It is also important to clean and disinfect any surfaces that you have touched. Wash breastmilk pumps, milk storage containers and feeding utensils after every use as usual.…, What coronavirus means for breastfeeding, For more information on breastfeeding during COVID-19 see guidance by the  World Health Organization . Article by Mandy Rich, Digital Content Writer, UNICEF This article was originally published on 28 May 2020. It was last updated on 08 September 2020.