CORONAVIRUS DISEASE PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH AND CARING FOR NEWBORNS

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH 
AND CARING FOR NEWBORNS: ADVICE FOR MOTHERS

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it affects pregnant women. There is currently no  
evidence that suggests pregnant women are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. There is 
currently no evidence that a developing child could be negatively affected by COVID-19. Childbirth
Throughout pregnancy, women experience changes in their bodies that may increase the risk of other illnesses, such  as viral respiratory infections. This is why it is important for pregnant women, especially those at high risk of developing severe complications, should take the following precautions to protect against the possibility of becoming ill: 
f Stay home as much as possible, except for important medical appointments.
f Talk to your doctor, obstetrician or midwife about the possibility of telephone or videoconference appointments.
f Avoid unnecessary visitors to your home.
f Wash your hands often with soap and water for at  least 20 seconds or, if not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
f Practice physical distancing. Keep a distance of at  least two metres from others. 
f Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. 
f Avoid crowded places and peak-hours. Make limited trips to the store for essentials  Avoid travel by public transit.
If you have travelled outside of Canada, had close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you need to self-isolate. 
There is currently no evidence of mother-to-child transmission through childbirth when the mother  gets COVID-19 in the third trimester.  If you plan to give birth in a hospital or birth centre, learn about the policies in place. 
ƒ Most hospitals and birth centres have reduced visitors or a no-visitor policy.
ƒ In most cases, only one support person may permitted.  
ƒ Your support person is not considered a visitor. 
f If you plan to give birth at home, talk to your  midwife about:
ƒ whether homebirths are still an option in your province or territory during the pandemic; and,
ƒ precautions to take to ensure your home environment is safe. 
f If you have COVID-19, talk to your health care  provider about the preferred birth plan. The birth  plan should be individualized and based on your preferences, the safety of the care provider, as well  as obstetric recommendations.  Your health care provider will consult perinatal (immediately before birth), neonatal (after birth), infectious disease and intensive care specialists,  as required.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are waiting to hear the results of a lab test for COVID-19, you must isolate at home. 
 
Breastfeeding
If you or your child have suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19, you can stay together in the same room if preferred, especially during the establishment of breastfeeding. 
Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of infection and illness throughout infancy and childhood. The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been found in breast milk and  it is unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted while breastfeeding. 
If you have suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19, you must isolate yourself in your home as much as possible; this includes practicing physical distancing in your home, with the only exception being the baby. You should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to your baby, which includes:
Wash your hands often, especially before and after touching your baby or your other children.  Wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose. 
Homemade fabric masks are not medical devices. There is no evidence they protect you from virus-sized particles.  Ensure the environment around you is clean and disinfected with approved hard-surface disinfectants.
If you are too ill to breastfeed, you are encouraged to:  Feed the child with formula or expressed milk  Ask an uninfected adult to feed the baby  If using a breast pump, sterilize the equipment 
carefully before each use  Don’t share bottles or breast pump

Visitors 
Visitors should be restricted or avoided during the period of physical distancing.  You do not want anyone to inadvertently expose you to the virus.  It is especially important not to have visitors if you or your child have suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19. 

Mental Health 
Parents and caregivers who may need to be separated from their children, and children who may need to be separated from their primary caregivers as a result of illness from COVID-19, should consult  appropriately trained health or non-health workers for mental health and psychosocial support. Contact your local Public Health Authority for assistance.
If you have concerns about COVID-19, talk to your doctor, obstetrician or midwife. 

FOR RESOURCES ON COVID-19 AND 
PREGNANCY, VISIT: 
www.sogc.org
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CORONAVIRUS:
1-833-784-4397 Canada.ca/coronavirus