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Pregnancy During COVID-19: Research on Risks and Supporting Mental Health

September 23, 2020

There is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 can be passed from mother to fetus during pregnancy or through breast milk after birth. There have been cases of COVID-19 in women who are pregnant and in babies who contracted COVID-19 after birth, but severe cases are rare.

If the mother has COVID-19 at the time of, or at any point after, birth skin- to-skin contact and breastfeeding are still strongly recommended. Sanitization of the chest, arms, and hands should take place prior to breastfeeding or holding the baby; mask wearing should take place during feeding and interacting.

Women who are pregnant can experience heightened mental health concerns, particularly depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Doctors and service providers are encouraged to screen all women who are pregnant for mental health concerns and provide them with information and support. Some women may not voice their concerns without a doctor or service provider starting the conversation.

Service providers are also encouraged to suggest virtual peer-to-peer support groups, provide information on pregnancy and labour during COVID-19, and suggest 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week. These solutions have shown evidence of improvement in mental health for women who are pregnant.

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